How can I prevent incontinence during or after pregnancy?

Pregnancy can weaken pelvic muscles, which in turn can lead to urinary incontinence. Exercising the pelvic floor muscles for five minutes a day can help you maintain or regain bladder control. These exercises, known as Kegel exercises, involve the same muscles you use to stop the urine stream while urinating. To make sure you know how to contract your pelvic floor muscles correctly, try to stop the flow of urine while you're going to the bathroom. If you can do this, you've found the right muscles.

To do Kegel exercises, empty your bladder and sit or lie down. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds, then relax for three seconds. Repeat 10 times. Once you've perfected the three-second contractions, try doing the exercise for four seconds at a time and then resting for four seconds, repeating 10 times. Gradually work up to keeping your pelvic floor muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds in between. Aim to complete a set of 10 exercises, three times a day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.