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Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after Childbirth

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after ChildbirthChildbirth is an exciting time and there are many news skills to master – and for some women, managing incontinence may be one of them.

It is a common problem that many women suffer from, mainly in the short term. In rare cases, it may be a long-term issue that requires further medical help to alleviate the systems. Being informed means being prepared and so check out these five top tips for managing incontinence after childbirth.

Tip 1 – Use appropriate pads and products

There is a range of incontinence pads in various absorbency levels that make managing incontinence on a daily basis much easier. Unlike sanitary towels, they trap odour as well as urine. They absorb the urine away from the skin, preventing soreness a common complaint alongside urinary incontinence.

They can be worn day and night, and are the ideal solution for catching accidental leaks of urine post childbirth. They allow you a sense of confidence in that embarrassing leaks are stopped in their tracks, great for when you go to post-natal exercises class or enjoy activities with your family.

Tip 2 – Pelvic floor exercises

Alongside incontinence pads, performing pelvic floor exercises several times a day help to combat a weak bladder. These exercises are discreet but incredibly powerful as they tone the pelvic floor muscles, meaning you gain control of your bladder.

The great news is that you can do these exercises anywhere, they are free and require no complicated or expensive equipment.

The pelvic muscle runs from the front of your pubic, across your body to the base of your spine. It is a sling like muscle and during pregnancy, is under pressure not only from the weight of your growing baby but also from a cascade of pregnancy hormones. It is under further pressure during labour and clearly, all that pushing during childbirth also impact on it.

To strengthen it, you need to tighten and hold the muscle for a few seconds and then perform a controlled release. Some people also suggest ‘forcing’ the muscle to relax as the final step. Doing this means that the muscles go through its full movement.

Not sure where your pelvic muscle is or which part to clench? Find out more here.

Tip 3 – Yoga

Incontinence pads and pelvic floor muscles are fantastic just after giving birth mainly because the pelvic floor exercises help you heal and the pads make incontinence much easier to manage.

Now that you have fully recovered you may decide you want to try something that strengthens your pelvic floor in the longer-term. Yoga is having some great results for people who suffered from stress incontinence – in other words, an accidental leak of urine when they cough, sneeze, exercise and so on.

Yoga strengthens and tones a variety of muscles groups, including those in the abdomen, the lower back and the pelvic floor muscle itself. There are various yoga poses that can help manage incontinence better and your qualified yoga instructor will be able to help.

Tip 4 – Train your bladder

Some people find that bladder training helps them too. This works with stress incontinence but with urge incontinence too. The latter is when the bladder has a sudden urge to empty, making it difficult to get to the toilet in time. If you can’t make it to the bathroom in time, an embarrassing leak could ensue.

Training your bladder means holding on between toilet breaks for a certain length of time. For example, when you get the urge to visit the toilet, override this urge by clenching your pelvic floor muscles and resist visiting the bathroom for a length of time, such as 10 minutes. Over time, you increase this amount of time from 10 to 20 minutes and so on. If you need help with this, your doctor may be able to refer you to an incontinence specialist.

Tip 5 – See your doctor

Incontinence can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and so if it continues, becomes worse or you are in pain when you pass urine, seeing your doctor is essential. It is common for women to suffer from incontinence immediately after birth. For some women, it soon disappears but for others, it can carry on for some weeks. However, if you are still struggling to control your bladder several months after birth, see your GP or have a chat with your health visitor.

Incontinence, on one hand, is to be expected after birth but it should right itself within a few weeks. If not, follow these tips – which ones worked for you.

HARTMANN Direct stock a range of incontinence products, ideal for use during and after pregnancy, helping you to manage accidental leaks.

Maternity Matters Linky Week 3 – #MaternityMatters

One thing that Susanne and I set out to do when we started Maternity Matters was give parents a voice, regardless of how difficult the subject they’re talking about might seem, which is why in the past few years, Maternity Matters has covered topics such as birth trauma, SIDS, Post Natal Depression and PND. Pregnancy and labour can be incredibly beautiful experiences, but they can also be difficult and potentially traumatic, and we felt strongly that by collecting stories from a variety of experiences we might be able to help people who needed information, or those who simply needed to feel that they weren’t alone.

If we’ve managed to help or educate even ONE person since we started, then I think I speak for us both when I say that we feel we’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Writing about our experiences has been hugely cathartic for both myself and Susanne and encouraging others in the same way is a huge part of the Maternity Matters ethos.

So, in that vein, here’s the form for the third #MaternityMatters linky – we’d love you to link up any posts, old or new, positive or difficult, anything pregnancy, maternity, baby or health related that you’d like to share. As ever, we’d love you to comment on as many of the shared posts as possible and don’t forget to grab our badge!



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

The Return of Maternity Matters

When I started blogging in the Autumn of 2010, a large part of my need to get my thoughts out of my head was because of the birth trauma I’d suffered whilst having Sausage in August 2008. Skip forward two years and I’d joined forces with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy, someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but who understood me better than some people I’d known my whole life because she’d been through a traumatic birth of her own.

You don’t want to believe that trauma, depression and PTSD will be something that defines you for the rest of your life but, in my experience, it’s something that does stay with you forever – you just learn how to carry it more comfortably, over time, like a heavy bag with a rubbish handle.  And it’s out of this shared experience that Susanne and I started Maternity Matters, a place for us and anyone else to tell their stories, find some support and to join together in improving knowledge and care for families who’ve suffered a trauma.

Over the past three years we’ve shared some incredible accounts of women of all ages and all walks of life, as well as collating news regarding maternity care in the UK, although life and babies (two more for Susanne and one more for me, bringing our collective total to six!) meant that the site has gone unloved for a while…until NOW! We’re hoping to bring Maternity Matters back to life and get it back on track. Susanne and I have a lot of new experiences to write about and we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of contributions from fellow bloggers and parents who want to share their stories.

In the meantime, Susanne and I will be launching the #MaternityMatters linky, starting tomorrow, for you to link up any article, blog post or story relating to:

fertility

conception

pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions/ complications

childbirth – of all kinds

breast/bottle feeding

postnatal experiences

parenting a baby

pregnancy/baby loss

The linky will go live every other Friday and we’d love to get as many of you as possible linking up with ANYTHING maternity-related. Also, if you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email jayne@maternitymatters.net with your ideas.

MaternityMatters

Hospital Beauty Essentials

The title of this post may seem like a total oxymoron; ‘beauty’ is really the last thing on my mind at the moment, but by pure chance I happen to have packed a few things in my bag which have, unknowingly, been an absolute godsend over the past two days.

I’m really the LAST person to take beauty advice from – my lack of regime is a laughable combination of apathy, forgetfulness and lack of time, but sometimes being in hospital, and so far out of your comfort zone, requires a bit of extra effort.

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

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I don’t know if its all hospitals, or just the one I’m in, but the ward is ridiculously warm. I’m a proper chilly-arse and I slept (albeit for only 2 hours last night) without a single cover over me. The upshot  of this is that the atmosphere can be very drying and the first place which suffers is my lips. I adore Burt’s Bees, with its slightly menthol tang and honey-infused softness and I’ve been applying it liberally to stop cracked lips.

Boots No. 7 Cream Cleanser

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I actually have pretty complicated skin which dries out in places if I use anything too harsh, but can be prone to spots if I use nothing at all and No. 7 Cream Cleanser seems to be a happy medium. Its moisturising enough to be soothing on this dry ward and still leaves me feeling clean and revitalised.

Hair Bands and Bobby Pins

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My poor husband despairs of my love affair with the humble bobby pin, as I do tend to leave a liberal scattering in my wake where ever I go, which means painful stepping incidents and even an expensive Dyson-damaging occurrence. However, bringing clips and hair bands to hospital is an absolute must if you have medium or long hair as, even if you wear it down 99% of the time, there are bound to be times when you want all of your hair off of your face and neck. Pack spares just in case; even if you don’t use them they’re handy to have.

Moisturiser

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A general purpose moisturiser that you can use on your hands and body is super handy to have, as you’ll probably be washing your hands a lot more and using that super-drying alcohol gel on them about 20 times a day. Be prepared and you won’t end up with cracks and dryness.

Toothpaste

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This may sound like a no-brainer, but lots of people forget their toothpaste. Also, if you’re on nil-by-mouth, often your tongue will feel like the inside of a parrots cage and being able to brush your teeth with something minty and zingy can make you feel 100% more human.

Baby Wipes

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Obviously, most wards have a dedicated bath or shower for patients, but if you’re hooked up to a drip or other machine for more than 24 hours, you might simply not have the opportunity for a proper wash. Never underestimate the power of the ‘Festival Shower’ – a thorough going over of all your bits and pits with a cool baby wipe can really help you to feel better and I often find that a simple thing like being clean and smelling fresher can speed up recovery and give you a mental boost when you’re poorly