Monday, August 4, 2008

Things no one told me- Part One

Standing on the other side of this issue, it is a lot easier to talk (write) about. I wasn't sure I would want to post about this issue because it is a little embarrassing but I think that is the reason it never gets discussed. The fact is that 30-50% of women will experience urinary incontinence after labor. There are two types of urinary incontinence, one is where you leak urine while laughing or coughing (this apparently also occurs during pregnancy in some women although I didn't experience it) and the other type that affected me is where the 'urge' to urinate is lost and therefore your bladder just empties without any warning. This happened to me in the hospital, it was late a night and Colin had fallen asleep on me after nursing so I didn't get up out of bed for a while. As soon as I did... well I'll spare you the graphic details but you can imagine the scene. I of course was horrified and start tearing up (remember hormones still out of whack) thinking I was permanently broken. I should mention at this point that my bladder had suffered some trauma earlier that day when my catheter tube got blocked and therefore my bladder wasn't emptying for quite sometime, when I finally started to get uncomfortable and alter the staff it took them over an hour to correct the problem (July is when all the new resident doctors start so they weren't really on top of their game yet) once corrected they emptied 1500 cc's out of my bladder. I looked it up and the average bladder holds 300cc's so clearly I was a bit over extended. I thought my issues were related to this but once I started looking it up it probably has just as much (if not more) to do with actually giving birth to a 8lb + baby. After coming home I did continue to have some trouble with it the first few days, nothing like what happened in the hospital but enough to really scare me into doing the research on it. It is apparently one of the arguments for elective cesareans because in some women it doesn't improve, or gets better but returns much later in life (there is a reason most adult diaper commercials are geared toward women). Apparently it is more likely to occur when you have a baby who is larger than 8 lbs or an episiotomy (although I'm not sure exactly why an episiotomy is related).
So now consider yourself warned... having a baby vaginally could lead to urinary incontinence, but it is not necessarily a permanent condition so there is no need to freak out if it happens to you.

6 comments:

Elaine said...

I never even thought about worrying about that issue, but now I have one more thing to worry about. That is interesting because my mom the urge to go to the bathroom about every nano-second and my brother and I were both over 8lbs. Interesting. Thank you for the information, that truly is something that no one tells you, but you wish you knew.

Anonymous said...

It is all about the muscles of the pelvic floor. Larger babies put more strain on them making it harder for the muscles to contract as tightly as before to maintain continence. An episiotomy cuts those muscles making them that much weaker. The good news is that there are exercises to re-train the muscles and make them stronger. Horray for Kegel's!

Andrea (Mom to the B's) said...

After three children, I find I can no longer jump on a trampoline like I use to(no knee drops for me)something to do with the sudden drop motion(you will pee your pants for sure)Sneezing is another fearsome thing to avoid!
I'm pretty sure after this 4th baby my uterus might fall out completely, the other pregnancies just made it drop down! But really if all of this was known ahead of time who would have kids!!!

Erin said...

I told you about this, didn't I? I tried getting on a treadmill right after my OB cleared me to start exercising again. And after about 6 steps, I had to get off and run to the bathroom because I was afraid I was going to pee all over the floor of the gym. I decided to try home workouts, and jumping jacks are just as dangerous! As a solution, I have started wearing a pad to the gym -- and it works just fine. Plus, 4 months post-delivery, things are getting better, although I most definitely don't have the control I once did!

mommymac4 said...

This can happen with c-sections too! Of course all my babies were 8+ (or a combined 13 lbs . . .) but just the weight of carrying them caused it, though no pushing was involved. Do your Kegels (it will help with sex later when you're up for it . . . since we're already sharing TMI)!

Michelle :) said...

true story.

that's all I have to say. :)