Pregnancy has a normal increase in pressure on both the bladder and the pelvic floor, but there are also factors that can be making that urinary urge worse.
First. identify when this happens. Is it with all squatting movements, just back squat vs front squat, etc. If the urinary urge happens mainly with one type of squat, this could be due to the position of your pelvis and increased pressure in that particular movement. For example, a front squat may have you less symptomatic since it encourages you to naturally be more upright and ribs stacked over pelvis.
Weight or RPE
At what weight or RPE do you begin to notice urinary urge? That might be your current threshold for symptoms. This is where I would work with a client to see if there are strategies we can use to mitigate this symptom at threshold weights and higher or see if this needs to remain your threshold during pregnancy.
Sometimes we hold tension (subconsciously or not) thinking it’s better in order to try to keep the pelvic floor supported. That tension can actually lead to an increase in symptoms while exercising and even incontinence outside of lifting.
Incontinence can range from leaking drops, peeing, difficulty emptying your bladder when you go to the bathroom, feeling like you have to pee but don’t (urge), etc. Pelvic floor relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing can be beneficial here. If symptoms persist, an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist may be helpful.
Are you bearing down into your pelvic floor when you squat? If you are bearing down or if you aren’t sure if you’re bearing down or not, playing around with your breathing strategies can help you reduce pressure and get a lift in the pelvic floor.
My first option with pregnant clients breathing in a squat is to exhale through the entire movement. Take a big diaphragmatic inhale at the top of a squat and exhale (blow out through your mouth like you’re gently blowing out a birthday candle) as you squat down and stand back up. Play around with this and other breathing patterns to see what may help you reduce pressure.
If you’re ready to start lifting (and living again) without worrying about your core and pelvic floor, FIT for Women is for you. Get the mobility, core and pelvic floor progressions, and strength programming you need to help you navigate your symptoms.
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