Feel like you’re running to the toilet more often, ever since getting pregnant? At the beginning, those pregnancy hormones contributed to peeing more. And then a growing baby who was sitting on your bladder definitely worsened the situation. Add to that pushing a baby out, tearing, or an abdominal C-section and now we might have leakiness – the perfect storm for Overactive Bladder (or OAB) to develop.

You’ve heard of leaking when you cough or do jumping jacks (General Stress Incontinence – GSI), well OAB is a whole different thing. It happens when you start feeling like you have to have pee more often. The urge to urinate starts to get stronger and stronger, but maybe when you get to the toilet there isn’t actually much urine there. Or maybe you don’t make it to the toilet in time at all.

This is a phenomenon that is pretty common in new moms and can coincide with GSI. Since general stress incontinence is pretty common after pregnancy, and no one likes to pee when they sneeze, one of the solutions that new moms come up with is to go pee more often. Because when my bladder is less full, there is less pee to leak! Right? Well, sure, but you are probably better off treating GSI with pelvic floor physiotherapy rehab, but that’s a different topic.

When you start peeing “just in case” you are sending a signal to your brain that your bladder must be at capacity and should be empty. The brain learns pretty quick that this new smaller volume is your new “normal” and will start to signal you to go when your bladder is only half full…or a quarter full…or suddenly you are the woman peeing 25 times a day.

So how can you prevent this? Experts recommend that you try to avoid “peeing just in case”. We know, baby’s new schedule sometimes trumps listening to your body’s urges, but try to pee only when you feel like your bladder is full. Except, if you already have OAB then it kinda always feels like your bladder is full! In that case, try delaying a few minutes each day, to see if you can normalize your urinary urge.

Hope this helps!

Katie Kelly, PT & Eryn Matheson, PT

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