As a pregnant woman, you soon realize that not all symptoms are as wonderful as the movements you feel. We have all heard about the morning sickness, swollen feet and ankles and the wacky cravings before you get pregnant. But let’s be real, there are other symptoms we should be warned about.
Whoops! I think I just peed a little! (Urinary Incontinence)
Ever pee a little with laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising or while lifting your toddler? Embarrassing as it might be, this weird pregnancy symptom is called stress incontinence and it’s actually pretty common in the second and third trimester, when your growing uterus and baby presses on your bladder.
Whenever there’s extra stress (like when you’re laughing too hard, coughing, or sneezing), it can be hard for you to hold in that little bit of urine. To control leaking, practice your Kegel exercises (practice squeezing and releasing the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine-just not while urinating). These pelvic floor exercises will tone your pelvic floor muscles, which may help increase urinary control. If you are experiencing leaking, try doing 6-8 sets (spread out during the day) of 10 reps of Kegels to improve strength. Not leaking? Maintain strength in your pelvic floor muscles with 3-4 sets (spread out during the day) of 10 reps of pelvic floor exercises. Remember, drinking less water will not decrease your leaking. Staying hydrated during pregnancy can improve other pregnancy symptoms so try to stay hydrated throughout the day!
This symptom may make you feel like you are leaking because your panties are soaked. However, when you rush to the bathroom it is with white discharge, not urine. Try not to worry about it because – no matter how gross it feels – know it is caused by the fluctuation in estrogen in my body.
I know it makes you feel gross in your vulvar area (“down there”), but please avoid douching and vaginal wipes because it can cause a change in your pH balance in your vagina PLUS that part of your body is self-cleansing.
Higher levels of progesterone are to blame for increased gas. Progesterone relaxes all the smooth muscles in your body – including the muscles in your GI tract. So this causes your digestion to slow down, which can make you very gassy after eating. As your baby gets larger in pregnancy, the growing uterus overtakes your abdominal cavity, slowing everything down even further. Because of this, it would be a good idea for you to get used to being gassier as pregnancy continues. Just remember, just like pregnancy, this too shall pass (whoops!).
“Wouldn’t relaxed muscles actually give me diarrhea,” you ask? Thank goodness, not in this scenario. Your intestinal tract actually works very hard to move stuff through, so once they get a little lazy, stuff stops moving. Literally. Poop stops moving. AKA you get stopped up.
Moving more (exercising/ walking), drinking water and eating smaller meals (and getting enough fiber) may help this. Exercise and drinking more water are common remedies for pregnancy symptoms.
Remember-don’t use laxatives (or at least talk to a medical provider before you do) because they can mess things up even more.
More exciting pregnancy symptoms to read later so look forward to another blog regarding All the Things No One Told You About Pregnancy-Part 2.
Amanda Fisher, DPT
This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Physical Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you. If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at foundationalconcepts.net for more blog entries and to learn more about our specialty PT practice, Foundational Concepts. Follow us on Twitter @SarahpelvicPT or @Jenn_pelvic_PT or @AmandaFisherPT and like us on Facebook/Foundational Concepts for updates.