None of us expects our bodies to be exactly the same after having a baby, but you might still be surprised at some of the unexpected (and unpleasant) physical changes you'll experience postpartum. Permanently larger feet? Fine. Thinning hair? Sure, why not? But changes that affect our sex life can be harder to accept, like the fact that you might have a little trouble holding in your pee in the heat of the moment. Yes, leaking during intercourse is a thing that can happen — so how can you prevent peeing during postpartum sex?
First, a little background on why this annoying side effect occurs. Interestingly, while you might hope that delivering via C-section would spare you from this symptom, that's not necessarily the case: The main reason for postpartum urinary incontinence is the weakening of the pelvic floor that happens during pregnancy thanks to the pressure of your ever-expanding uterus. (The pelvic floor supports the uterus, rectum, and — you guessed it! — the bladder.) Delivering vaginally does increase your odds of leakage after having a baby, however, and not just during sex... you might have issues while sneezing, coughing, or laughing, too. (So NOT funny.) Hormonal changes contribute to the problem, as well, and the fact that as your uterus shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size, it sits directly on top of your bladder. Oof.
Postpartum urinary incontinence is super common (it happens to over a third of new moms and can take at least six months or more to go away), so it only stands to reason that quite a few mamas must find themselves springing a leak at an otherwise romantic moment. Sadly, there's no magic way to guarantee this will never happen to you, but there are things you can do to decrease the likelihood of peeing during postpartum sex that are actually totally doable.
1. Do your Kegels
You've heard it before, you'll hear it again: Kegels, or exercises which tighten the muscles of the vagina, are the key to postpartum recovery (at least that aspect of it). Experts recommend three sets of 20 Kegels per day to strengthen your stretched out pelvic floor, according to What To Expect, and if you're not sure how to them, you can read more here.
2. Train your bladder
Don't wait until it's too late or give your bladder more than it can handle. Mayo Clinic suggests delaying peeing as soon as you feel the urge starting with 10 minutes at a time, until you're able to go 2.5 to 3.5 hours without a trip to the bathroom.
3. Avoid constipation
Another lovely postpartum happenstance that nobody tells you about, constipation (and the straining it causes) can make the whole spontaneous pee thing worse, so try to keep things moving as much as possible. You know the drill: Fiber, fluids, exercise...blah, blah, blah.
4. Stay hydrated
Constant fear of wetting one's pants can lead to a reluctance to drink, but dehydration can actually aggravate an overactive bladder. So keep on drinking your usual eight glasses of water a day (because you do that, right??). Just cut back for an hour or so before sex, suggests Web MD.
5. Try different positions
Here's a good reason to mix it up in the bedroom: Certain positions are less likely to put pressure on your bladder, so try getting on top (rear and side entry can help, too), suggests Everyday Health.
6. Hit the bathroom first
This one might seem obvious, but it's easy to get distracted when the mood strikes. Still, a super quick break in the action could spare you an uncomfortable moment and gives you a second to freshen up if you feel like it!
7. Talk to your doctor
Even if you're embarrassed to talk about it, you should feel free to bring this (very, very common) issue up with your doctor, who might have some suggestions. At the very least, she'll likely be able to put your mind at ease about your body's healing process because seriously, you are definitely not the only one to suffer from this.
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