By Riva Preil
As all new mothers can attest, the pelvic floor muscles experience the stretch of a lifetime during labor and delivery. Many women experience stress (SUI) or mixed urinary incontinence (MUI), involuntary loss of urine, following the birthing experience.
A recent Danish study (International Urogynecology Journal, January 2014) outlines several risk factors that are associated with developing either SUI or MUI. These include:
- Body mass index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 30 prior to pregnancy
- Urinary incontinence during the pregnancy
- Perineal lesions or tears during delivery
- Anal sphincter tears during delivery
Svare, Hansen, and Lose, the study authors, discovered that the second factor, incontinence during pregnancy, was the strongest predictor of whether or not an individual will experience incontinence postpartum.
Practically speaking, this indicates that pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises are appropriate during pregnancy. In fact, addressing this issue DURING pregnancy can help decrease the risk of developing incontinence AFTER pregnancy. So why wait? Nip the issue in the bud and take charge to PREVENT the issue from ever developing. If you are an expectant mother experiencing involuntary loss of urine, pelvic floor physical therapy might be just the solution for you! Speak to your obstetrician about a referral to physical therapy, and please give us the opportunity to help you TODAY.