A Little Poise During Pregnancy

Sneezing. Laughing. Coughing. Exercising. Cooking. Standing in the dining room with the mail in hand.

What do all of these activities have in common?  They are all activities in which I’ve peed myself with no warning. I imagine there will be more examples to provide for your enjoyment in the future.

I have a history of bladder problems. UTIs all throughout my childhood, bladder surgery when I was 7, wore pull-ups until I was 9, developed the systems of a condition called Interstitial Cystitis when I was 17, bladder distention surgery a short time later, and I’ve never had the ability to exercise without leaking like a sieve. I remember discussing the leaking extensively with That Husband before we were married because I wanted to make sure he wasn’t disgusted by a wife who had a habit of shedding dribbled in undies after removing her running shoes.

I’ve reached a point where a little Poise is always necessary…

Planting one of these bad boys in my panties doesn’t help my pride any, but the assurance that I won’t be publicly humiliating myself anytime soon is worth it. If this has happened to you as well, I just want you to know that you are not alone.

I’ve been working to try to hit 3 instances of 30 minutes of exercise each week, but the farther I move into my pregnancy the more difficult that has become. Any activity above a walking pace puts excessive pressure (sometimes almost to the point of pain) on my bladder. 3 minutes after getting on the treadmill I find myself feeling like I need to hop back off again and visit the ladies room. A few weeks go I was wearing a pad stuffed in my yoga pants while at the gym , trying to hit the target amount of time on the treadmill when I realized I had to go to the bathroom. Again. I had already been twice during this one session, both times had been just a little dribble, so I figured there couldn’t be much more left inside, right? I would relax, dribble in my panties a bit, and continue on like nothing happened. Wrong. Once the stream started it didn’t stop and I found myself feeling like a naughty toddler, hoping the pad had been absorbent enough to keep my little secret safe from the other gym goers present. One of the less appealing symptoms of pregnancy I think.

At 30 weeks I stopped leaving the house at all without a pad in my underpants and a backup tucked away in my purse. I’m hoping to avoid an embarrassing scene like the one my friend Dumpling/OMG Mom experienced in a Las Vegas grocery store during her last trimester of pregnancy.

Are you wanting to avoid being a devoted Depends wearer like me? Get on those kegels. I should have been much more diligent about them from the beginning.

29 thoughts on “A Little Poise During Pregnancy

  1. Wow, I had problems with ‘leakage,’ but all completely related to pregnancy – I can’t imagine throwing an issue you already had into the mix AND the loss of bladder control that comes with that growing baby. That must drive you crazy!

    Towards the end I had to run to the bathroom every hour it felt like – and even worse than that – my body involuntarily would start ‘going’ the minute I just saw the toilet! It would take all my available power to tell my body…’No – wait until you are sitting down before you release!’

    TMI ?

    Jenna Reply:

    Is there such as thing as TMI when it comes to pregnancy? 🙂

  2. My mom has this issue (she’s not preggo though) especially when working out. She just went to a doctor and she’ll be getting a minor surgery which will allow her to work out without worrying that she’ll be going all over the treadmill. She’s really excited because she loved to work out (she used to be a personal trainer) but hasn’t much for the past 10 years or so because of being so nervous about this issue. I think this is a lot more common than most women think and something that deters women from working out. We gotta get the word out!

  3. It totally cracks me up that you blogged about this! =) You’re either going to freak out girls who haven’t had babies yet or help REALLY prepare them for some of the lesser-known/discussed aspects of pregnancy. =D

  4. This is one of the many reasons I love your blog. You are so unflaggingly honest!

    And honestly? Why hide it? Keeping “secrets” like this under wraps just makes people feel panicked or embarrassed when they encounter them!

  5. You probably had the accident because you were standing (as opposed to the two trickles), try peeing in the shower! When we sit down that pregnant, it’s like it blocks the pee from coming out or something. Also helpful is to lean forward as far as you can while still sitting on the toilet.

    Jenna Reply:

    I love you for admitting you pee in the shower. Have you seen the Seinfeld episode where George pees in the public gym shower?

  6. I always have this problem, pregnant or not. 🙁 I’ve dealt with nocturnal enuresis (if you know what that term means, then I’m mature enough not to be ashamed) pretty much my entire life, mostly due to psychological stress (I grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional home). But it affects daytime too- often one minute I feel like I don’t have to go at all and the next I have. to. go. so. very badly. Painfully badly. And let’s just say I’ve had my share of leakage in public places and some awkward situations.
    Glad there’s other women out there who suffer some of the same indignities!

  7. I feel for you! I had bladder problems as a child and had frequent accidents & bed-wetting issues until I was probably 13 or so. I had to go to many specialists, and finally the last one told me about Kegel’s. Trying to explain that concept to a 12-year old took a bit of tact, but it worked. She told me “Imagine you are squeezing your butt cheeks together, only use your front, not your butt”. She said “It will help you now with your bladder problems, and will help you later on as an adult… you’ll see” HA! 12-year old me didn’t know what she was talking about… but a 20-something me does:)

  8. Jenna, between you and OMGMom I am so nervous but also totally prepared for this! I keep saying to my husband – “I could pee my pants at any moment…it happens when you’re pregnant” – so that he won’t make fun of me.

  9. Yeepies!!!! Thank you for actually TELLING me about this…I had no clue that people randomly peed while they were pregnant.

  10. In preparation for possible pregnancy I have procured a prop to play a part in practicing Kegels (that’s fun to say!). The prop?

    Ben-Wa Balls. I have this kind: http://www.amazon.com/Ben-wa-balls/dp/B002MBCT6I/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&s=miscellaneous&qid=1265832271&sr=8-16

    But you can find a jot of different kinds online. They also sell them at sex shops, but it can be kinda gross going in those places unless they’re more tailored for women, not creepiness.

    I got mine at a Passion Party, which was not at all creepy and actually very fun and enlightening. You put them in your vagina and they are weighted, so your muscles tighten to keep them in. You start putting them in for a minute or two, and work your way up to a few hours. They strengthen your PC muscles and can help with bladder problems. They also can make orgasms more intense and labor easier and more productive.

    For such a cheap little thing that’s a bit strange, they sure do a lot!

    Jenna Reply:

    I would be nervous about using them during pregnancy (I don’t get jumpy about many things, but I would hate to use something that brought baby earlier than s/he was supposed to arrive!) but I’m definitely ordering some for after baby. Thanks for writing about them Jessica!

    JessicaMayLords Reply:

    No problem! I probably wouldn’t advise them during pregnancy either, but definitely try them afterwards!

  11. I love that you are so honest about this, Jenna. And your sister’s quote cracked me up! Thank you for always telling us like it is 🙂

  12. Haha, I don’t mean to laugh but it made me giggle a little (I am actually in class right now) if only for your honesty!

  13. I have serious bladder issues without pregnancy – so I am resigned to the fact that having a baby will add a little ‘poise’ to my life too. I kegels constantly now to try and keep things in check. A’la Samantha from SATC – I could wink at people constantly going ‘I am doing them riiiight now!”. Mostly because doing them seems to alleviate my constant full-bladder feeling. TMITMITMI

    At least you’re positive about it!

    Emmie Reply:

    Ha! I was thinking of the same quote.

  14. I have a friend with IC and if it’s anything like her, I empathize! She’s in constant bladder pain and she always feels like she’s gotta go. Good luck girl! And keep up the poise 😉

  15. Your honesty is so refreshing. 🙂 I have problems with “leakage” sometimes and I’m not pregnant. Can’t wait to see what happens when I am! 😉

  16. I wear lightdays every single day, and have since I was 11. I don’t have the same kind of issues you do, but I do have, let’s say, “timing” problems… and just plain old discharge bugs me too.
    I’m sure you know this already, but be prepared for things to be a LOT worse for the first few weeks after birth. It will improve, definitely, but there were at least two times I majorly peed my pants because I only realized I was peeing by the time I was halfway through emptying my bladder. Big-time overnight pads are awesome, and I’m considering for the next time around getting actual cloth pads.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’ve never considered cloth pads for myself, but if I’m already going to be washing a bunch of diapers for baby it wouldn’t be a huge deal to throw in my own pee-soaked cloth pads as well. Do you have a resource for them?

    MrsW Reply:

    a quick google search turned up Lunapads (www.lunapads.com) and GladRags (www.gladrags.com). This is a thread filled with independent makers: http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=920345

    Brie Reply:

    I used preemie prefolds for myself after Claire was born. They were pretty awesome. I used the ones from the hospital for a few days, but they smelled funny and the sticky underside kept catching my skin and hair, ouch! They also didn’t stay in place very well. I loved the preemie prefolds, and they weren’t expensive like mama cloth is. Plus, if you end up not liking mama cloth (I don’t use it other than after birth) there are tons of other uses for the prefolds. Oh, and they are SUPER absorbant. I did just throw them in with the diapers.

    Brie Reply:

    Oh, but this was just for bleeding, I didn’t need them for pee problems. They would be pretty bulky for everyday use, but worked fine for the “i’m not leaving the house and I wear baggy clothes and want to be comfortable” days

  17. Hey, I have IC too! My few tiny past attacks turned into a 10-MONTH bout during late pregnancy and postpartum; talk about torture. But FYI if it ever comes back, I had to start using topical estrogen (“in the area,” if you know where I mean) for some postpartum hormone problems, and as a side effect it totally cleared up the IC too. Blessed relief. Good luck with the other issues, hope they go away for you post-baby!

    Jenna Reply:

    Tara you do!?!?! I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone I actually know who has it. I really haven’t had symptoms since my bladder distention back in high school, but I went through a year long period where I was almost always in pain. I’ve felt twinges every now and again since then but nothing comparable. I expected the beginning of my um…. sexual escapades to be a nightmare, and had prepared TH for something like that, but things have happily been good in that area as well. Thanks for the tip about topical estrogen!

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