How to Stop Peeing When You Sneeze

Nothing makes you feel less sexy and cool than peeing when you don’t really want to, even if it’s “only a little.” Blech.

One thing I heard when I became a first time mom is “Do Kegels!” They’re supposed to help with childbirth, supposed to strengthen your pelvic floor, and supposed to help with the uncool urinary incontinence issue. So I did them. I don’t really know if they helped or not.

All I know is, when I was pregnant with baby #2 the whole peeing-when-you-sneeze-or-cough thing was really annoying!

Then I had kid 3 and kid 4 and basically figured I was doomed to have this problem due to my multiple pregnancies and child births. Granted, it wasn’t as bad when I wasn’t pregnant, but still…NOT cool!

Then I came across this article while pregnant with baby #7, an interview with Katy Bowman. She basically said, “EF the kegels.  Do planks and squats instead.”

Actually, she didn’t say any “F words” and she provided a lot more great information on this topic. In fact, I highly recommend you read the interview here.

However, the main thing I look away from it was, 1) forget kegels and 2) do more planks and squats. I don’t care for kegels anyway and I much rather do planks and squats so I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a try. I’m SO glad I did! They totally work. :)

In case you’re not sure what a plank is, it looks like this…

planks help with urinary incontinence
Those are my daughters in the picture above. So lucky, already ahead of the game doing planks as teens. Anyway, things to remember with planks are…

  • keep your core tight
  • squeeze the muscles in your body for a solid hold
  • no sagging of the hips or shoulders
  • no butt up in the air higher than the rest of your body (you should look like a slope only, not a whole mountain)
  • straight line from shoulders to heels
  • shoulders should be directly over your wrists
  • don’t forget to BREATHE
  • hold this position as long as you can
  • you can also do this on your elbows aka “low plank” position (shoulders would be directly over elbows)

asian squats, paleo squatsNow for the squats. CrossFitters do a LOT of squatting, but the kind of squatting that seems to work best for pee-stopping purposes is not weighted squats, but “Asian squats” (or paleo squats/Filipino squats, whatever you want to call them or know them as). If you aren’t sure what that means or what it is, look at your kids when they squat (like the picture =>). They do it right…

  • feet flat on the floor
  • sink your butt down as low as it can go
  • just sit there for as long as you can

You can do these squats throughout the day when you:

  • fold clothes
  • watch TV
  • play with your kids on the floor
  • play with apps on your phone
  • read a book
  • etc, etc, etc

The great thing about both these exercises is:

  • they require no special equipment
  • they don’t take a lot of time
  • you can easily incorporate them into your day
  • your kids will probably want to join you
  • but best of all?  They WORK!!!

Seriously, I had pee-when-you-sneeze problems during of my pregnancies, even while doing kegels!  Then, while pregnant with my 7th child, I did planks as long as I could and did squats as often as I could.  Guess what?  I could cough and sneeze without peeing!

Now, granted, there is ONE thing that still gives me problems and that’s jumping repetitively (like jumping jacks or jumping rope 15+ times in a row). I’d say that’s not bad at all for someone who has 7 kids, including one within the past 15 months.  I think I can probably reduce that issue quite a bit, or maybe even eliminate it altogether, if I do squats and planks more consistently as well as stretch out the muscles Katy talks about in the article.

But I can totally cough, sneeze, do kettlebells swings, jog, sprint, etc all with NO problem at all!

I think that’s pretty rockin’ and definitely worth a try if you want to stop peeing when you sneeze , run, jog, cough, or move too vigorously.  Really, you’ll feel so much more awesome when you stop peeing on accident! :)


  1. Carrie says:

    I’m a huge fan of Katy. I interviewed her once for the show and follow her blog religiously. good stuff!

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