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Does having a baby cause urinary incontinence? 

"Ask the Experts" at East Jefferson General Hospital [Web Exclusive Content]

Not necessarily. Carrying a baby for 40 weeks can certainly be associated with stretching of pelvic ligaments and vaginal tissue and other changes, which can eventually contribute to urinary incontinence. However, not all women have urinary incontinence (even as they age), simply because they've given birth.

We used to think that as long as a cesarean section was performed, then there was very little risk of incontinence. Now we know that some women with a history of cesareans may have problems too. One contributing factor may be the size of the baby a woman carries. Very large babies can put their mothers at risk for incontinence in the future, even if they are not born vaginally.

Many women may have urinary incontinence especially after menopause due to a lack of estrogen in the pelvic tissues. Having had children may compound this cause. Some cases of urinary incontinence may also be caused by infection. It's important to let your doctor know if you're having this problem.

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Schiavi is an OB/GYN at East Jefferson General Hospital. To make an appointment with Dr. Schiavi or another physician at EJGH, please call HealthFinder at 504-456-5000.

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