Have you ever come across the theory that incontinence during pregnancy is caused by rapid weight gain? If you have, you would be one of many there are plenty of obstetricians who have subscribed to this school of thought. Well, a new Norwegian study that just came out shows that this might not be true. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that weight changes after birth, and not during pregnancy, were more relevant to incontinence rates. The study followed almost 13,000 Norwegian women who were expecting their first babies. Its result was unexpected while researchers did not find more than a passing link between pregnancy weight gain and loss of control over one's bladder, it showed that losing weight after giving birth decreased the risk of being incontinent significantly.
The study was conducted through questionnaires that were answered by pregnant women at three different times. Questions were asked at 15 weeks, 30 weeks, and six months after birth. It found that as much as 40 percent of the respondents were struggling with urinary incontinence by the 30th week of pregnancy, and that 21 percent had a "fresh" (sorry for the cheesy pun) incontinence problem six months post-partum. Now for the interesting part: those who suffered from loss of bladder control during their pregnancies were more likely cure their difficulties the more weight they lost after birth. Incontinence rates dropped by two percent for every two pounds lost!
The study's lead researcher, Stian Langeland Wesnes, said: "Weight loss post-partum, together with pelvic floor muscle training, may decrease the prevalence of urinary incontinence in women post-partum." A healthy and active pregnancy, and a nutritious and balanced diet both during pregnancy and after might be the best approach. So ladies, make sure you don't eat too much after giving birth, and do your Kegels during pregnancy! Of course, it still makes sense to prevent too much weight gain during pregnancy for other reasons.