Pregnancy & Frequent Urination: Causes and Tips
Now that you're pregnant, do you spend more time in the bathroom? Being disrupted by the urge to urinate frequently can be an annoying trait that comes with pregnancy. Still, it's perfectly normal, and most of the time, it's nothing to worry about. Continue reading below for more information on what causes frequent urination, how to treat it, and whether it may indicate a urinary tract infection.
When does it start, and what can I expect during my pregnancy?
Did you know one of the most common early symptoms of early pregnancy is frequent urination? Symptoms can vary from person to person, but the increase in urination can start as early as the fourth week of pregnancy.
As your baby grows and your pregnancy progresses, the need to use the bathroom often can temporarily subside as levels of the hCG hormone decrease.
It is typical for the urge to urinate to return later in your pregnancy when the growing baby puts more pressure on the bladder. You will also notice you are making more trips to the bathroom at night.
Every experience can be different for each individual woman. While some people find it very inconvenient, others barely notice it. Urinary frequency usually lasts until the last month of pregnancy until delivery and gradually returns to normal.
What causes frequent urination during pregnancy?
After conception, the fertilized egg and developing placenta increase levels of the hCG hormone. This pregnancy hormone increases blood flow to the pelvic area and kidneys, which becomes more efficient during pregnancy. However, the downside is that it also causes symptoms like nausea and frequent urination.
Elevated levels of hCG will soften the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor, helping to prepare the body for the growth and delivery of a baby. Unfortunately, this can also cause leakage and urinary incontinence. In addition, as the baby grows, the pressure on the bladder increases, leaving less space for urine. The urge and frequency to urinate becomes even more pronounced towards the end of the third trimester, when the baby's head moves down toward the pelvis, putting even more pressure on the bladder.
During pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, you may also notice fluid building up in your legs, ankles and feet. Mild swelling can be expected as excess water accumulates in the bottom of your body throughout the day. Other factors, like when it's hot or when you're standing for long periods, also contribute to fluid buildup. When you sleep at night, the fluids that have built up during the day in your legs and feet are returned to your bloodstream and filtered through your kidneys as urine, making you go to the bathroom at night.
Tips for managing your frequent urination
- Empty the bladder completely when urinating. When going to the bathroom, leaning forward with your feet planted will help you empty your bladder.
- Avoid Caffeine. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea and pop, can irritate the bladder and cause frequent urination.
- Don't drink too much right before bed. If you have to get up frequently during the night to urinate, try limiting your fluid intake about two hours before bed.
- Stay Hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water. While it's tempting to limit your fluids to reduce the need to go to the washroom, your body needs regular hydration during pregnancy.
- Elevate your legs before going to bed. If you're struggling with nighttime urination and mild swelling throughout the day, try raising your legs before bed. Raising your legs helps stimulate fluid buildup in swollen ankles and feet so that you can urinate before bed.
- Reduce your swelling. Avoid standing for long periods. Wear compression stockings. Keep your legs elevated if possible. Take regular walks and do leg exercises. All of these things can help reduce mild swelling. Please consult your healthcare provider whenever you're dealing with swelling, especially if it's causing discomfort or is more severe.
- Consider using incontinence products. If urinary leaks are becoming an issue, consider purchasing products that will provide comfort and help you stay dry day and night.
Could frequent urination during pregnancy indicate a problem?
Frequent urination during pregnancy is expected. When it correlates with other symptoms, it may indicate a problem. Other signs to look out for include:
- Pain or a burning sensation when you urinate
- A sense of urgency to pass urine even after you have urinated
- Your urine smells unpleasant, is cloudy, or contains blood
- A constant lower abdominal pain
- Lower back pain
- Feeling generally unwell
- Urinary leakage
These symptoms could indicate a Urinary tract infection (UTI). If you suspect you have a UTI, please consult a healthcare professional immediately. UTIs are very treatable, especially when diagnosed and remedied early. Read more about UTIs in pregnancy by clicking here.
Frequent urination during pregnancy is expected and occasionally irritating, but it's nothing to stress over. The urge may range throughout your trimesters, but your routines should gradually return to what they were after your baby's delivery.