It’s one of the less pleasant side effects of pregnancy—that tiny bit of leakage that occurs when you cough, sneeze, exercise, laugh or do almost anything else suddenly. It’s all because baby is growing and hanging out in your equally expanding uterus, which puts extra pressure on your bladder. That adds stress on the muscles of the bladder sphincter (the valve that keeps your urine inside until you’re ready to go). A sudden movement, like a sneeze, puts even more pressure on it, causing that (super-embarrassing) leaking.
Luckily, there's something you can do to help you stay dry. Tried-and-true Kegel exercises can help tighten and firm your pelvic floor muscles and prevent leakage. If you haven’t already learned to do Kegels, here’s your chance to practice: Contract your pelvic floor muscles, as if you’re stopping the flow of pee mid-stream. Hold the contraction for 10 counts; then relax for 10 counts. Do 10 reps. The beauty of Kegels is you can do them anywhere, anytime, without anyone having any idea you’re doing your down-there workout. Try doing 10 reps in the morning, 10 again midday and 10 more at night.
The good news is most women don’t have lingering leakage issues postbaby, although those who deliver multiples or have an episiotomy may have more problems recovering. If you do have a continued issue with leakage, keep up the Kegels, which can strengthen those pelvic muscles for the long run too.
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