Postpartum & Urinary Incontintence

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Why am I still leaking urine when I sneeze or cough now that I’m several months postpartum?

Most likely you’re suffering from a form of urinary incontinence, commonly called stress incontinence.

Normally, your nerves, ligaments, and pelvic floor muscles all work together to keep your bladder running smoothly and keep the urethra closed so urine won’t leak out. Usually overstretching or an injury to these areas during pregnancy or childbirth can cause them to not function the way they are intended.

Stress incontinence is a common complaint from pregnant women, some women find that it becomes a chronic issue even after childbirth.

Who’s most likely to suffer from urinary incontinence after pregnancy?

Typically women who give birth vaginally are more likely to have a problem over women who deliver by cesarean section. But even some mothers who avoid labor altogether and have a scheduled c-section continue to have stress incontinence.

Some studies have indicated that having an assisted vaginal delivery, particularly with the use of forceps, may increase stress incontinence after childbirth. Also some studies, have found that having a prolonged labor or a large baby can add to the likelihood of stress incontinence.

Other factors include obesity, smoking, genetic predisposition and of course the number of children a woman has had.

It’s worth mentioning, women who have reached menopause experience incontinence in similar numbers regardless of the number of pregnancies they had or the type of delivery.