An increased desire to urinate is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. For some women it persists for the whole nine months with the need to get up in the night to urinate. Some women experience incontinence in the latter stages of pregnancy due to added pressure on the bladder and the muscles relaxing in preparation for birth. Exercise is the best way to prevent leakage.
- Practice pelvic floor muscle exercises. These are the muscles that actively support the bladder, uterus and bowel. The best way to isolate this muscle group is by tensing your internal muscles as though you are stopping the flow of urine mid-flow. (Avoid the tendency to contract your gluteal muscles in your buttocks during this exercise as this detracts from the pelvic floor). The movement is small but precise and effective in strengthening the pelvic floor. Hold for five seconds then release. Repeat five times. Practice this technique as often as you can throughout pregnancy and after childbirth.
- Pilates focuses on reinforcing the pelvic floor muscles. Many women attend pilates classes during pregnancy and post partum and swear by its philosophy and efficiency in promoting a rapid recovery.