Will a caesarean protect me from pelvic floor complications such as bladder leaks?

The joys of motherhood!

When preparing for childbirth, you can receive a lot of advice. But what is often not discussed during pregnancy or pre-birthing classes is the topic of incontinence post birth. Yet, women who have delivered a baby vaginally are twice as likely to develop stress incontinence compared to women who have delivered via caesarean[1].

Stress incontinence results in urine leakage when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jump, or lift heavy objects.

While caesarean births may reduce the risk of stress incontinence by protecting your pelvic floor muscles to some degree (particularly for first time mothers), they do not make you immune to challenges like incontinence and prolapse.

This is because pregnancy itself adds a heavy load on the pelvic floor muscles – increasingly stretching them. Added to that, the more frequent visits to the bathroom, tend to weaken the pelvic muscles (because when you don’t use them – you lose them). And for the trifecta – hormonal changes can affect muscle strength in your pelvic area, resulting in a loss of bladder control. All of these changes are experienced by women who give birth via c-section.

Some women receive the added bonus (NOT) of having to push during labour, only to then have a caesarean due to complications. Meaning, your pelvic floor muscles are strained and then layers of adhesion are required to close the C-section, which can impact a body’s core function, including that of the pelvic floor muscles.

Because apart from nerves and connective tissues, other muscles help the pelvic floor work. Including your diaphragm, your glutes, the adductors, and your abdominals. These all need to be strong, coordinated and flexible to help your pelvic floor muscles work their best.

Five key take-aways:

  1. One in three women, who have given birth, will experience bladder leakage.
  2. The stress of pregnancy and childbirth weaken your pelvic floor muscles.
  3. There is no guarantee an elective caesarean will prevent incontinence.
  4. Pelvic floor exercises are important both pre and post birth, because healthy, fit pelvic muscles before the baby is born will help the body mend more easily after the birth.
  5. Bladder leaks happen. They are pretty common. You can work to improve your pelvic floor muscles, but it’s not a quick fix.

Due to the joys of childbirth (among other things), sometimes we all need a little back-up protection. And that’s ok! Live life with confidence, freedom and control with Vivo Bodywear’s reusable absorbent underwear. 

Don’t let bladder leaks stop you from living life.

[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160223074738.htm


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