Aside from the beautiful pregnancy “glow” that you allegedly get during pregnancy — although, I’d say the “glow” is only during the second trimester — most of the other side effects of pregnancy are unpleasant and uncomfortable. At least they were for me. One of the more embarrassing side effects is that sometimes, or maybe all of the time, you pee when you sneeze and also when you cough. Yes, the amount of pee may depend on how well you listen to Baby Center’s advice to drink lots of water and on how near you are to a bathroom at all times of day, but usually this lovely phenomenon just sneaks up on you and catches you by surprise. You may find yourself dodging some acquaintances on your way home from the grocery store because you just sneezed. Or leaving the middle of the dance floor at a wedding so nobody knows where those little wet spots came from. You may even end up doing a costume change if you’re lucky enough to be near home or have a second outfit.
I asked my ob-gyn why this happens and what I can do, and she just said, “It happens to everybody. There’s nothing you can do. It’s part of motherhood and a rite of passage to becoming a mother.” Not a very satisfying answer. I wanted to hear something like, “Oh it’s your pelvic floor preparing to push a baby out, and you can prevent the pee slips by doing 100 kegels per day.” Especially since I have been suffering from the pee sneeze since week six.
As a result of going through this lovely affliction for a second time (I’m on pregnancy #2), I’ve aquired a bit of knowledge for how to avoid it and strategy for making it through the day dry.
Here is my personal advice:
1. Stay very hydrated but always know where the nearest bathroom is.
2. If you’re going for a long walk, into a meeting, or on a long drive
make sure hit the ladies’ room right beforehand.
3. Avoid friends and children with colds, because the last thing you
need is to sneeze more than necessary.
4. Stay away from heavy perfume wearers — they always make me sneeze.
5. Don’t cough. Even if you have to, just hold it in.
6. When you cannot do 1-5, and you’re wearing a skirt, wear bike
shorts underneath so you don’t end up with the drip down the leg.
Embarrassing! Or better yet, wear a pad!
Fortunately, once the baby arrives you’ll be so overcome with love and wonder at the new little life you’ve just created that you’ll barely notice a little unwanted pee. Plus it fades away. Until then…get to the nearest restroom!