Your body goes through many changes with pregnancy and as your unborn baby grows and puts pressure on your bladder you will have a frequent need to urinate.
More than 50% of first time pregnant women and up to 85% of second time mothers develop some degree of bladder weakness. Bladder weakness may begin in the first trimester but it’s more common in the third trimester when your baby’s growth becomes more pronounced.
Your bladder is a muscle, shaped like a balloon, that stores urine. When you urinate the bladder muscle tightens to squeeze urine out of the bladder. Other muscles, the sphincter muscles, surround the tube (called the urethra) that carries urine from your bladder to an opening in front of the vagina. The sphincter muscles are responsible for keeping the urethra closed. Pelvic floor muscles located under the bladder also help keep the urethra closed.
When your bladder reaches a certain level, the nerves in your bladder signal your brain and you get the message it is time to urinate. When you are beginning to urinate your brain sends one message to the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles to relax and a message to the bladder muscles to tighten up and squeezes urine out of your bladder.
Sometime bladder weakness can result from pregnancy and delivery. Bladder weakness can be the result of the fetus pushing on your bladder, of changed position of bladder and urethra, of a vaginal delivery, episiotomy, or damage to the bladder control nerves.
Bladder weakness usually goes away within a few days to a few weeks after birth. Typically, diet, exercise, biofeedback, bladder retraining, medications, and several other treatments are available to help minimize or eliminate lingering bladder weakness. If you still have a problem a month after the delivery, you should talk to your health care provider.
Bladder control problems do not always show up right after childbirth with some women showing no sign of problems until much later. Exercises after childbirth also help eliminate problems and also can prevent bladder problems in middle age. Ask your health care provider how to do pelvic exercises.