How Long Does Postpartum Incontinence Last? (And How To Get Your Bladder Back To Normal ASAP)
Jessica Lubahn 8 min read
What should be one of the happiest times of your life is quickly becoming unbearable.
Your breasts are engorged from your milk coming in, none of your clothes fit, and you’re running on little-too-no sleep.
Oh! And did I mention — you’re constantly leaking from your vagina?
Postpartum incontinence is more common than you may think, but you don’t have to live with it forever.
Learn how to handle your postpartum incontinence and regain control of your bladder here.
Table of Contents
- Is Postpartum Incontinence Common?
- How Long Does It Take To Regain Bladder Control After Pregnancy?
- 7 Ways To Improve Postpartum Incontinence and Reduce Your Chances of Long-Term Bladder Issues
- Incontinence Underwear Helps You Manage Postpartum Incontinence While You Work To Improve Your Bladder Health
- ONDRwear Absorbs Postpartum Leaks and Helps You Feel More Like Yourself Again
Is Postpartum Incontinence Common?
One common type of incontinence is stress incontinence. And because pregnancy puts a great deal of stress physically on your body and pelvic floor, there should be no surprise that postpartum incontinence is common.
As if growing a baby wasn’t mentally stressful enough, the physical stress that comes with a growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, causing you to leak urine. This also happens during a woman’s postpartum period as her body begins the healing process from delivering a baby.
During the first three months postpartum, nearly 33% of women experience postpartum incontinence. Typically, postpartum incontinence begins to heal after this point, but that isn’t always the case.
If you’re suffering from postpartum incontinence, don’t let the embarrassment of leaking urine ruin your newborn bliss. ONDRwear creates postpartum underwear designed to handle any leaks from pregnancy to postpartum and back again.
How Long Does It Take To Regain Bladder Control After Pregnancy?
There is no hard and fast answer to how long it might take to regain bladder control after pregnancy because many factors attribute to incontinence and recovery.
Answering these personal questions may help you determine your recovery time:
- What type of delivery did you have?
- Did you carry and deliver one baby or multiple?
- Was your pregnancy high-risk?
- Was there significant trauma in delivery?
- After the delivery, when incontinence tends to begin to heal, how active are you in your recovery?
How the Type of Delivery Affects Postpartum Incontinence
Whether you’ve had a vaginal delivery or a cesarean delivery, the likelihood that postpartum incontinence will find you is high.
However, one study shows that postpartum incontinence after a cesarean section was half as common as after a vaginal delivery.
Another study shows the prevalence of stress incontinence after vaginal delivery was estimated to be 23% — whereas a cesarean delivery was 10% after more than one year postpartum.
Women with cesarean deliveries may experience less postpartum incontinence because the baby doesn’t travel all of the way through the birth canal to be born. For women who deliver vaginally, the baby stretches the pelvic floor as it travels through the birth canal, causing extra trauma.
Hormones, which are high during pregnancy and postpartum, also weaken your bladder control and can play a part in postpartum incontinence.
7 Ways To Improve Postpartum Incontinence and Reduce Your Chances of Long-Term Bladder Issues
Postpartum incontinence isn’t something that’s likely going to get better on its own. After all, you just delivered a baby. Your body went through serious trauma.
Although many women see an improvement in their postpartum incontinence around three months postpartum, many women continue to suffer until 12 months postpartum and beyond.
Don’t be one of those women who suffer forever. Implement these tips for improving postpartum incontinence and regaining control of your bladder as soon as possible.
#1: Pelvic Floor Exercises
Strengthening your pelvic floor helps with many muscle imbalances and compensations. But preventing or minimizing leaking and incontinence is one of the pelvic floor’s biggest jobs.
Your pelvic floor creates a hammock underneath your …
- Bladder; and
… which is why working to strengthen it is important for postpartum incontinence.
It’s no secret your pelvic floor goes through the wringer during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, so it will need some help getting strong again.
Adding a few simple exercises into your daily routine can be beneficial for improving postpartum incontinence.
#2: Move Your Body
Women often receive the “green light” to begin working out again at their six-week postpartum check-up if there are no serious lingering issues.
Many postpartum fitness professionals recommend that starting light movement like walking and breathing exercises as soon as you feel up to it postpartum is okay — with no need to wait for a six-week clearance. However, we recommend waiting to be cleared by your OBGYN to return to exercises beyond that.
#3: Do Your Kegels
One of the most common pelvic floor exercises, Kegels, help to:
- Support pelvic floor muscles
- Strengthen pelvic floor muscles; and
- Control incontinence of urine, bowels, and gas
Although they can be a bit difficult to understand and perform correctly, they’re a quick exercise you can do rather mindlessly throughout the day that reaps big benefits for postpartum incontinence.
#4: Drink Plenty of Water
If you’re having issues with constant leaking, you may drink less water to make the leaking stop.
That’s false. Drinking water can actually help.
When you become dehydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated — which is irritating to the bladder. When the bladder is irritated, it reacts. And for those suffering from postpartum incontinence, that means leaking.
Instead of drinking less water, try:
- Setting a daily water intake goal and working to meet it.
- Cutting off water consumption a few hours before bedtime to avoid overnight leaks.
- Drinking four to eight 8-ounce cups throughout the day rather than constantly sipping water — as this is less overwhelming for the bladder.
- Drinking flavored water or juice.
- Eating fruits with high water content or popsicles.
#5: Avoid Constipation
Constipation can cause incontinence because when the colon is full and becomes enlarged, it creates pressure on the bladder, causing leakage.
You can avoid becoming constipated by:
- Upping your fiber intake
- Doing those Kegels
- Regularly attempting to use the bathroom; and
- Moving your body
#6: Train Your Bladder
Bladder training is common with people who suffer from an overactive bladder, so working to train your bladder can be highly beneficial if you’re suffering from postpartum incontinence.
Here’s how it works:
- Create a bathroom schedule of regular intervals and try to urinate each time you visit the restroom.
- When you’ve had regular success, slowly increase those intervals by a few minutes each.
- After your intervals have been spread out, try to go to the bathroom when you have a strong urge to urinate.
- Once successful, try to wait a few minutes before letting the urine out, even with a strong urge to urinate.
#7: Skip the Caffeine
Caffeine, especially when consumed in excess, could irritate the tissues of the bladder. This may lead to involuntary bladder contractions.
About 90% of the caffeine we consume comes from coffee and tea, but these aren’t the only culprits.
Also avoid food and drinks like:
- Cocoa beans
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Energy drinks
- Coffee-containing desserts like tiramisu or coffee ice cream flavors; and
- Coffee liquor
Incontinence Underwear Helps You Manage Postpartum Incontinence While You Work To Improve Your Bladder Health
Postpartum recovery can be unpleasant. There’s swelling, discomfort, and lots of leaking of bodily fluids. As you can imagine, things get super sensitive down there.
And while there are many different diaper and underwear options postpartum women can use, they’re not always comfortable or absorbent.
Imagine having underwear that is soft, breathable, and absorbent during your postpartum period. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Postpartum incontinence doesn’t just go away after the first few months. You likely have to work to improve your bladder health. And if you’re still leaking, you don’t want bulky and abrasive underwear and pads stuffed underneath your pants.
Enter postpartum underwear that’s designed with women like you in mind.
ONDRwear Absorbs Postpartum Leaks and Helps You Feel More Like Yourself Again
Not much is worse than trying to dress a postpartum body that’s completely foreign to you. Your clothes don’t fit, you’re uncomfortable, and you’re walking around with a diaper shoved into your pants.
While you might have to wear clothes a size or two bigger for a bit, you don’t have to feel uncomfortable about your postpartum leaking any longer.
ONDRwear absorbs postpartum leaks, all while being soft, comfortable, and slim. Say goodbye to bulky postpartum pads and underwear forever.
Our breathable, leak-proof underwear comes in many styles to fit bodies of all shapes and sizes. They’re eco-friendly, odor-free, and did we mention – comfortable.
Don’t believe us? Try them for yourself. Check out ONDRwear postpartum underwear today.
The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.