Pregnant Leaking Urine At Night

During pregnancy, many women are incontinent. This bladder weakness is completely natural. What you can still do about it and what the underlying causes of pregnancy-related incontinence are, you can find out here. The links marked with a symbol or green underlining are affiliate links. If a purchase is made through these links, we receive a commission – without additional costs for you! More info.

Incontinence during pregnancy: what you can do

Mild incontinence is considered a side effect of pregnancy. Pregnant women lose a few drops of urine from time to time – especially when coughing, sneezing or laughing. In addition, many women suffer from a constant urge to urinate – even at night.

  • Slight incontinence during pregnancy is considered normal. If you lose urine occasionally, you can wear panty liners or thin pads. There is nothing you can do directly against bladder weakness, as it is a natural and partly hormonal process.
  • But you can prevent it: stop smoking before you become pregnant. Preferably as early as possible. Apart from the fact that smoking harms the child, a so-called smoker’s cough can develop. This puts additional pressure on the bladder and increases the discomfort.
  • You should also avoid being overweight. The more you weigh, the more your pelvic floor has to “carry”. Weakness of the pelvic floor in turn leads to increased incontinence.
  • To strengthen the pelvic floor, you can start supportive sports such as yoga, gymnastics or Nordic walking even before pregnancy.
  • Make sure you eat a high-fiber diet and drink at least two liters of water or unsweetened tea a day. This boosts digestion and prevents constipation. The latter also have a negative effect on the bladder.
  • After giving birth, you should attend a postpartum class. There you will be shown suitable exercises for the pelvic floor to prevent persistent incontinence and to train the bladder.

Causes of bladder weakness

The causes of incontinence during pregnancy are both organic and hormonal.

  • At the beginning of pregnancy, the pregnancy hormone progesterone causes the muscles to relax – including those in the bladder. In addition, the hormone estrogen leads to a loosening of the tissue.
  • At the same time, the uterus grows in the small pelvis during the first months of pregnancy, which puts pressure on the bladder. Thus, as a pregnant woman, you have the feeling of a constant urge to urinate, even if the bladder is not full at all. This is also called urge incontinence.
  • In the advanced stages of pregnancy, the baby puts more pressure on the bladder. Especially shortly before birth, when the baby has turned and pushed itself into the pelvis, this can become very uncomfortable. At the same time, the pelvic floor muscles relax. This makes the urge to urinate even stronger.
  • Important: If you suffer from frequent or increased urination during pregnancy, you should consult a gynecologist. The same applies if you lose large amounts of fluid. This can also be amniotic fluid.
  • A self-test from the pharmacy can provide clarity here. Due to the different pH values, the test strips turn purple for amniotic fluid and dark green for urine.

Incontinent during pregnancy – no drama (Image: Pixabay/lisa runnels)

Video tip: Pregnancy – When and how often do babies pass

Read all about incontinence in men here.

Currently much sought

Currently much sought

At the beginning of pregnancy, bladder weakness is mainly hormonal. The increased blood flow to the organs – including the kidneys and bladder – also has an effect at a fairly early stage. In later stages of pregnancy, the growth of the uterus and baby also lead to increased pressure on the bladder and thus to an increased urge to urinate.

Causes: Hormones, increased blood flow, pressure from uterus and baby.

Already in early pregnancy, most women notice that they have to go to the toilet much more often than usual. This also interrupts nighttime sleep – often several times. This is due to the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which, among other things, causes muscles to relax – the bladder muscles are also affected. In addition, the hormone estrogen relaxes the tissue. The bladder is by no means already full to bursting, but the relaxed muscles create the feeling of an intense urge to urinate. Due to the improved blood flow, the kidneys produce larger amounts of urine from the beginning of pregnancy. In the first months of pregnancy, the uterus initially grows in the small pelvis, putting pressure on the bladder. In the second trimester of pregnancy, bladder weakness usually decreases somewhat. The hormonal changes are completed by the end of the third month of pregnancy. In the meantime, the uterus has straightened up and is now expanding upwards, which reduces the pressure on the bladder. At the latest from the beginning of the third trimester, the weak bladder then becomes more noticeable again. Now the baby’s weight also has a greater effect. In addition, the baby’s head moves downward during late pregnancy, leaving less and less room for the bladder. In preparation for the birth, the muscles of the pelvic floor also relax in the last trimester of pregnancy, which again increases the annoying urge to urinate.

Occasional incontinence is normal during pregnancy

Many women experience that they involuntarily lose a few drops of urine from time to time during pregnancy. This happens particularly often when laughing, coughing or sneezing and in late pregnancy. More than half of all pregnant women are affected. Occasional incontinence is normal during pregnancy. However, women who suffer from it very frequently should consult their gynecologist to reliably rule out a ruptured bladder or other complications. Shortly before the due date, another question becomes important: Is discharged fluid urine or already the rupture of the bladder. So-called indication tests in the form of small test strips are available in pharmacies to make a reliable distinction. Due to the different pH value, the strip turns dark green if it is urine, and purple if it is amniotic fluid. However, the discharge of amniotic fluid can also be detected without a test strip: Some amniotic fluid is discharged in a gush, while others are discharged in a steady drip, which – unlike urine – cannot be stopped. With the rupture of the membranes, the birth has finally begun. Normally, the water breaks during the first stage of labor, i.e. during or towards the end of the opening contractions. This is basically a reason to go to birth center or clinic immediately.

Prevention of weak bladder is possible and often effective

Weak bladder cannot be completely avoided in any pregnant woman – it is one of the natural consequences of pregnancy. For this reason, it is also important that the expectant mother drinks enough during the entire pregnancy. Panty liners help with occasional incontinence. In the majority of women, the urge to urinate and bladder weakness disappear by themselves after the birth. In the first few days, however, they will still have to go to the toilet frequently, as their bodies then flush out the water stored during pregnancy. About one in ten women will continue to have problems with a weak bladder for some time after the postpartum period, often due to a family predisposition. Nevertheless, something can be done before, during and after pregnancy to prevent bladder weakness:

  • Even before pregnancy, it is good if the woman does not smoke: Many smokers suffer from chronic coughing, which strains the pelvic floor and leads to greater pressure in the abdomen.
  • Being overweight also has a negative effect on the pelvic floor muscles. In case of an existing desire to have children, it is optimal if the woman reaches her normal weight before the beginning of pregnancy.
  • Throughout pregnancy, sufficient exercise is also important to prevent problems with the bladder. Gentle sports such as yoga, gymnastics or Nordic walking also help to build a strong pelvic floor. Doctors and midwives recommend regular pelvic floor training from early pregnancy. In birth preparation courses, pregnant women also learn pelvic floor-friendly behavior for everyday life.
  • Gentle sexuality also strengthens the pelvic floor.
  • During pregnancy, constipation further increases the pressure on the bladder and is also a risk factor for manifest incontinence. To avoid them, pregnant women should drink plenty of fluids, eat a diet rich in fiber and, if necessary, support their digestion with natural products such as flaxseed or psyllium.
  • A Scandinavian study shows that during childbirth, perineal massages with heat packs strengthen the elasticity of the tissue and thus also have a positive influence on the rapid disappearance of pregnancy-related bladder weakness.
  • After childbirth, exercise and regular pelvic floor training help the function of the bladder to normalize quickly and sustainably. Gynecologists therefore advise all mothers – expressly also after a cesarean section – to do postpartum exercises or attend a corresponding course. Various studies show that women who regain their initial weight six months after giving birth were significantly less likely than other women to suffer from pelvic floor problems and thus also bladder weakness.

Beware of urinary tract infections during pregnancy

With all the inconvenience caused by weak bladder in pregnancy, urine – such as at night – behave, expectant mothers should not in any case. Because pregnancy hormones relax urinary tract smooth muscles, the risk of bladder infections and urinary tract infections increases during pregnancy. Pain or burning when urinating, as well as the feeling of only being able to pass a few drops of water at a time despite an urgent need, are urgent reasons to see a doctor. Urinary tract infections can also be treated quickly and effectively during pregnancy with suitable medication. If left untreated, they can develop into protracted, painful and not entirely harmless kidney infections. © Brigitte Bonaposta – Pregnant Leaking Urine At Night.

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