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Why do I have to urinate so frequently during pregnancy?
Frequent urination during pregnancy is often caused by pregnancy hormones, an increase in the amount and speed of blood circulating through your body, and your growing uterus.
- Hormonal changes make your blood flow to your kidneys more quickly, filling your bladder more often – which causes more frequent urination during pregnancy.
- Your blood volume also increases throughout your pregnancy until you have almost 50 percent more blood circulating in your body than before you got pregnant. This means a lot of extra fluid is getting processed through your kidneys and ending up in your bladder.
- Your growing uterus eventually puts pressure on your bladder, further compounding the problem late in your pregnancy.
Is frequent urination an early sign of pregnancy?
Yes – needing to pee more often is one of the most common early signs of pregnancy, and it usually starts about six weeks into your first trimester.
Some pregnancy books say you'll begin to feel relief early in your second trimester as your uterus rises out of your pelvis, but research doesn't support this theory. Several studies have shown that the need to urinate frequently tends to increase as pregnancy progresses, particularly for women who have been pregnant before.
How can I avoid having to urinate so frequently during pregnancy?
Needing to urinate often is an unavoidable fact of life for most pregnant women. But these tips may limit the number of times you need to visit the bathroom:
Skip certain beverages. Don't drink coffee, tea, or certain carbonated drinks (like soda) because these are all diuretics, meaning they increase urine production and make you need to pee more often. (Alcohol is also a diuretic.)
Empty your bladder. When you pee, lean forward to empty your bladder completely.
Don't hold it. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need. Waiting can actually weaken your pelvic floor muscles in the long run.
Why do I leak urine when I sneeze or laugh?
Both the pressure of your uterus on your bladder and weak pelvic floor muscles may cause you to leak urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze, lift heavy objects, or do certain types of exercise, like jogging. This is called "stress urinary incontinence," and it's most likely to happen in your third trimester or in the postpartum period.
You may be able to prevent it somewhat by not letting your bladder get too full, so don't ignore the urge to pee. And remember to empty your bladder before exercising.
Doing Kegel exercises, which strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, can also help minimize stress incontinence and make it easier to recover from childbirth. It's a good idea to begin Kegel exercises early in pregnancy and continue them postpartum. (Make Kegels a lifelong habit!)
And if need be, wear a mini pad or panty liner to catch any leaks. (Keep fresh pads handy in your purse or diaper bag.)
How can I avoid waking up at night to pee?
You can try drinking plenty of fluids during the day, then cutting back in the hours before you go to bed. But make sure you don't go thirsty in the attempt to make bathroom visits less frequent. It's important for you to stay well hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 10 8-ounce cups of water or other beverages every day, more or less – whatever is enough that your urine looks pale yellow or clear, not dark yellow or cloudy.
In any case, you'll probably find yourself needing to get up increasingly often at night to urinate as your pregnancy progresses. That's in part because when you lie down, some of the fluid retained in your legs and feet during the day makes its way back into your bloodstream and eventually into your bladder.
As one mom we know puts it, "It's nature's cruel way of training you for the many nights of interrupted sleep once your baby arrives!"
Is frequent urination ever a sign of a problem?
Frequent urination can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), the most common kind of bacterial infection in pregnant women. Left untreated, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, preterm labor, or both. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Blood-tinged urine
- Feeling the need to urinate even when you're only able to produce a few drops at a time
When will this constant need to pee ease up?
You can expect to start peeing less soon after your baby is born. For the first few days postpartum, you'll urinate in greater quantities and even more often as your body gets rid of the extra fluid from pregnancy. But after about five days, you should urinate about how often you did before you were pregnant.
A few women – particularly older women who had stress urinary incontinence early in pregnancy – continue to have problems with leaking urine long after giving birth. If you still have stress urinary incontinence or any other bothersome symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Vaginal discharge during pregnancy
- Constipation during pregnancy
- Hemorrhoids during pregnancy