This was one of the more squeamish topics about which I’ve had to write, particularly as I’m six months pregnant and hope that I’m one of the lucky 65% of women who do not have to deal with this problem. But as I spoke to Ann, and to others that work in women’s health, I found a growing consensus that more women would be able to overcome this issue if they were open with their doctors and seek treatment with physical therapists.
Reducing the risk of post-pregnancy incontinence
with advice from Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE
While women may not want to talk about it, postpartum incontinence is a prevalent problem after giving birth. In fact, a 2002 study found that as high as 35% of all women that deliver their babies vaginally could continue to suffer from the problem three months after birth.
Ann Cowlin, an expert on women’s fitness (and the creator of Dancing thru Pregnancy, one of Physiquality’s partner programs), notes that incontinence is common during the first six weeks after birth, due to bruising, swelling and the need to eliminate the extra fluid of pregnancy. Whether from pushing during a vaginal delivery, or simply the stress of pregnancy on the pelvic floor (which affects all pregnant women, including those that eventually have a Cesarean section), she says that the immediate problem usually resolves within a couple of weeks to a couple of months.