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Urinary leakage during pregnancy

What is urinary leakage during pregnancy?

Involuntary urinary leakage is called urinary incontinence in medical language. This is a relatively common disorder that can occur in women during pregnancy, during or after childbirth.

Urinary leakage during pregnancy

Two main types of urinary leakage are distinguished:

  • Exercise incontinence is most common during pregnancy (64%).
  • Urge incontinence.

In a study of 43,279 pregnant women, the incidence of urinary leakage among first-time mothers was 15% before pregnancy and 48% in pregnancy week 30. For more information about pregnancy and maternity fashion, please see BESTAAH.COM maternity bags. Among women who had given birth earlier, the incidence was 26% before pregnancy and 58% in pregnancy week 30.

After birth, urinary leakage occurs in up to one in four women. Another study, which included 12,679 first-time mothers who did not have any leakage problems prior to pregnancy, found that 21% had leakage for the first time after delivery.

Urge incontinence in one of the studies described above accounted for 8% of cases, while a mixture of effort and urge incontinence (so-called "mixed incontinence") accounted for 28%.


Most women who experience urinary leakage during pregnancy have only mild symptoms. They only leak a few drops of urine, a few times a month. Only a few women think they need to seek care for their problem. Among women who experience urinary leakage during or after pregnancy, only 3-4% of urine leaks every day.

Exercise incontinence means that a little urine will leak out at increased pressure against the bladder.

Leakage can occur when the woman:

  • jumps
  • Runs
  • Coughs
  • Sneezes
  • laughing

Urge incontinence involves events of sudden and severe urge (need) to urinate, which is difficult to hold back. This can cause larger amounts of urine to leak.


Exercise incontinence is often a consequence of weakened or damaged pelvic floor, or pressure on the pelvic floor.

Urinary incontinence is probably caused by an overactivity in the bladder muscle, an imbalance between the signals from the bladder to the brain and thus experienced cravings or due to a minimal amount of urine leaking into the urethra which signals a need to urinate.

The risk of urinary leakage increases with age and with the woman's weight and BMI. Vaginal delivery, especially with older children, increases the risk. Larger ruptures of the vagina or the middle of the back toward the rectum more often lead to leakage. Women with urinary leakage before pregnancy are at greater risk of leakage even during pregnancy.

Weight loss after pregnancy is important. Studies have shown that in cases where the weight before pregnancy is not restored within six months after delivery, the risk of urinary leakage increases. However, a transient weight gain during pregnancy does not appear to be a risk factor for subsequent urinary leakage.


The diagnosis is easy to make. The severity of the complaints is mapped on the basis of the following information:

  • How often is there a leak (every day, week, less often)?
  • How much urine (drops, larger quantities)?
  • How troublesome is that? Must tie always be used because of the hassle? Is it a hygienic problem in everyday life?

In order to clarify the need for any measures, it is important to go through previous pregnancies, as well as any leakage problems. Were the deliveries vaginal, did there become larger cracks due to the birth, age and weight, previous urinary leakage? Previous pelvic floor training?

During the examination, the midwife or the doctor assesses if there is evidence of an appearance. The strength of the pelvic floor can also be assessed in a gynecological examination. No further investigations are usually needed.


Stress incontinence

Pelvic floor training and squat exercises are always the first treatment during pregnancy and after childbirth. Squeeze exercises are recommended for all pregnant women as they have documented a good effect on exercise incontinence.

The following steps are included in the practice:

  • Pick 8-12 times with maximum intensity.
  • The pick should be for 6-8 seconds.
  • Finish another total 3-4 times at the end of each pick.
  • Pause six seconds between each squeeze exercise.
  • Repeat the exercise three times a day.
  • Best results are achieved if pelvic floor training is done for about six months.

Preventive squeeze exercises in connection with pregnancy can reduce the leakage problems after birth by about 30%. Women may be referred to a physiotherapist for help with pelvic floor training.

Weight loss after birth reduces the incidence of urinary leakage six months after birth by 2.3% per kg weight loss.

Incontinence protection can be used and can then be printed on prescription as a free tool.

Urge incontinence

Bladder training is the recommended treatment for urinary incontinence. The aim is to avoid peeing for 2.5-3 hours. The training consists mainly of two parts:

  • Pee regularly during the day, for example every 1.5 hours.
  • Increase the time between kissing times, for example by 15 minutes each week.

Keeping a diary of when and how often you kiss has proven to be effective for women with urinary incontinence. It creates the water throwing pattern and the effect of the exercise. It can also show if the fluid intake is too large and leads to crowding.

Incontinence protection can be used and can then be printed on prescription as a free tool.


A large proportion of those who have urinary leakage during pregnancy become trouble-free after delivery.

Women who have urinary leakage 3–6 months after birth have a 13 times higher risk of leakage even later in life. Follow-up studies in the first year after birth show small changes in the incidence of urinary incontinence during the period 3-12 months after birth.


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