Bladder, bowel, pelvic floor and vaginal ‘bulge’ symptoms (known as a prolapse) is a common problem during and after pregnancy. Pregnant women are sometimes unable to prevent a sudden spurt of urine or a small leak when they cough, laugh, sneeze, move suddenly or just get up from a sitting position.

This may be temporary, because the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles around the bladder) relax slightly to prepare for the baby’s delivery.

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Bladder and bowel incontinence

Pregnant women are sometimes unable to prevent a small urine leak when they cough, laugh, sneeze, shout, move suddenly or just get up from a sitting position. 25% of pregnant women can experience leakage from the back passage.

Most women can use their pelvic floor muscles to prevent this from getting worse during pregnancy, and to improve it after delivery.

Bladder and vaginal problems during and after pregnancy

Your pelvic floor in pregnancy

Most women find that using their pelvic floor during pregnancy improves their bladder and bowel control after delivery.

Pregnancy is a great time to find your pelvic floor muscles and start using them as a lifelong habit!

Lifelong pelvic floor activity can improve your internal support, reduce prolapse, increase bladder and bowel control and enhance sexual function  – get started during pregnancy.

Vaginal prolapse

A vaginal prolapse is when one or more of the vaginal walls or top of the vagina move downwards and cause a bulging or heavy feeling at the vaginal entrance.

It can be very helpful to start pelvic floor exercises and avoid constipation.

Please see the following links for details:

When to get help

In many cases, bladder, bowel, pelvic floor and vaginal bulge symptoms are curable. If you have a problem, talk to your midwife, doctor or health visitor.

You can also get advice and support from the physiotherapy team who also assess and treat pelvic floor symptoms.

Please help yourself to information and YouTube videos on the University Hospitals Dorset website.

If you need to contact the physio team to refer your self please use the self referral form.

Peeing a lot in pregnancy

Needing to pee a lot often starts in early pregnancy and sometimes continues until the baby is born. In later pregnancy, it’s caused by the baby’s head pressing on your bladder.

How to reduce the need to pee

If you find you need to get up in the night to pee, try cutting out drinks in the late evening. However, make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drinks during the day.

Later in pregnancy, some women find it helps to rock backwards and forwards while they’re on the toilet. This lessens the pressure of the womb on the bladder so you can empty it properly.

Some women have pre-existing bladder symptoms – please talk to your midwife if you need to about this during your pregnancy.

Healthy bladder information.

When to get help

If you have any pain while urinating or you pass any blood in your urine, you may have a urine infection which will need treatment.

Drink plenty of water to dilute your urine and reduce pain. You should contact your GP within 24 hours of noticing these symptoms. Read more about symptoms and treatment of urinary infections.

Don’t take any medicines without asking your midwife, doctor or a pharmacist whether they’re safe in pregnancy.