Your poor bladder has to put up with a lot during your pregnancy! It’s your baby’s favorite place to practice jumping, after all! All that baby-jumping and bouncing keeps your bladder—and your need to pee—on your mind constantly. Let’s look at why having an empty bladder is important.
First, I just want to say I post lots of informational and educational videos on TikTok, Instagram and our Facebook page, so if you’re not already following The Fayetteville Doulas, head over to those platforms and give us a like/follow.
Your healthcare provider wants you to hydrate well in pregnancy. Your body needs the extra fluids to make amniotic fluid, increase your blood volume, build new tissue, carry nutrients and more. With more fluid intake comes more visits to the toilet. Try to make sure you are fully emptying your bladder each time you pee. A few tips:
- As you near your due date, it may be helpful to lean back slightly, and gently lift your belly a bit. This might make it easier to empty your bladder.
- This one is weird but it works! Give the area where your butt cheeks meet, at the top of your “butt crack”, a little tickle with your fingers/nails.
- Peppermint oil in the toilet bowl can help too—especially for your first trip to the toilet after you give birth.
Emptying your bladder will help make you more comfortable, and decrease your risk of developing a UTI. And remember, both dehydration and a full bladder can cause contractions! If you’re having contractions (either Braxton Hicks “practice” contractions, or real contractions) alert your provider, and make sure you’ve been hydrating, and your bladder is empty.
I think most of you will agree that the urge to pee in pregnancy is pretty recognizable. During labor, however, the urge may be less recognizable. You may need reminders to empty your bladder, especially if you’re on IV fluids (check out our blog post about IVs and interventions). As a doula I encourage clients to try and pee every hour or so. This provides the benefit of emptying your bladder as well as the benefit of movement, both of which are great.
If your bladder is full, it takes up room. If your bladder is empty (or as empty as possible) baby will have more room to navigate the pelvis and birth canal. Refer to the TT video demonstration below.
I have been at births where baby is still high in the pelvis, client gets an epidural and a catheter to empty her bladder, and down comes baby. A full bladder can quite literally hold a baby up. (PS: If you can, spend a few contractions on the toilet! It’s one of the best places to labor.)
Aside from labor, an empty bladder will help your immediate postpartum recovery go a bit smoother. If your bladder is full your uterus may not be able to contract and firm up. If it can’t do that you’ll likely need medication and/or a catheter to empty your bladder and stop a postpartum hemorrhage.
In the hours and days of your postpartum recovery, getting up to empty your bladder before breastfeeding or pumping can lessen cramps you may feel. This is especially important for those of you who have had a baby or two already, as “after birth cramps” can get significantly more uncomfortable with the more babies you have.
If you find you have bladder control issues, please reach out to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. Peeing yourself is never normal.
Remember to pay attention to your bladder in pregnancy, but also during labor and postpartum recovery. If you want even more tips make sure you’re following us on social media, and subscribe to our newsletter!