A Cesarean Delivery Will Not Lower Your Chances for Incontinence

Written by yvonnethornton on April 4th, 2013

Obviously, childbirth can really do a number on a woman’s lower body. While we have all dreamed of the day we become mothers since we were little girls, we have also all feared it. Both women and men alike understand the pain and discomfort of childbirth. Some of that discomfort can even last beyond the pregnancy itself. Many women report incontinence after they’ve delivered a baby. Whether it’s a long bathroom line or a hearty laugh, you might find yourself darting to the nearest empty stall in horror as you realize you don’t have the bladder control you used to. It’s a common misconception that women who opt for Cesarean delivery are impervious to incontinence postpartum. Believe it or not, studies show that the mode of delivery actually has no influence on whether or not a woman will experience incontinence after she gives birth.

You’re probably wondering what causes incontinence postpartum then since the mode of delivery has no effect. If you are having bladder control problems after you give birth, it’s more likely a result of your age. Older women are more susceptible to incontinence to begin with, so childbirth will only bring it on sooner. Also, genes play a role. If your own mother was incontinent postpartum, there’s a better chance you will be also. Finally, your lifestyle might also play a role. Women who maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly become incontinent less often. By avoiding those fatty pregnancy temptations and resisting the urge to become a couch potato during your gestation, you will be preventing incontinence.

If you’re thinking about having a Cesarean for health reasons, don’t let the potential for incontinence sway you. You have just as great a chance of becoming incontinent from a Cesarean delivery as you would from giving birth vaginally. Make other adjustments in your pregnancy if you are hoping to avoid incontinence. Stay healthy, plan the age at which you conceive wisely, and talk to your family members about their own incontinence postpartum to determine whether or not genes might play a role. While incontinence is embarrassing, it is temporary for many new moms who struggle with it for the first time.


– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


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