Frequent Urination in Pregnancy

Causes, concerns, and tips

Frequent urination is part of the pregnancy experience. It can be exciting when you first notice it and realize that you're expecting. Then, during the last few months, it might be a bit annoying as it brings frequent trips to the bathroom and interferes with your sleep.

Here’s what you need to know about frequent urination during pregnancy, why it happens, how to deal with it, and when it could be a sign of a problem. 

Frequent urination in pregnancy
Illustration by Brianna Gilmartin, Verywell

How Often Is Frequent?

Frequent urination is going more than you usually do in a day, so it's different for everyone. A regular urination pattern can be anywhere from four to ten times a day, with an average of about six.

Some women only notice mild changes and use the bathroom at the same rate or just slightly more often than they did before. Other women experience much more noticeable changes as they are continuously running to the bathroom throughout the day and night.

If you're concerned that you are not peeing enough or you think you may be going too often, you can call your doctor to discuss it or bring it up at your next prenatal appointment.

Changes by Trimester

Frequent urination is very common in early pregnancy. It sometimes eases during mid-pregnancy only to return again later. Here’s how it typically breaks down by trimester.

First Trimester

You may have to go to the bathroom more often as early as two weeks after conception or right around the time of your first missed period.

Along with tender breasts and morning sickness, frequent urination is considered an early sign of pregnancy and may get you thinking about taking a pregnancy test.

Hormone changes during the beginning of pregnancy lead to an increase in blood flow and fluid in the body. On top of that, your kidneys kick into high gear and work very well to get waste out of your body. The first trimester also sees the uterus start to grow and press against the bladder.

When you have more fluid along with more efficient kidneys, it means more urine. Plus, the uterus pressing on the bladder can make it feel like you have to empty it more often.

If you don’t notice an increase in urination in the early weeks, it doesn’t mean there’s a problem. You don’t have to worry. Frequent urination will most likely catch up with you later in your pregnancy.

Second Trimester

As your pregnancy continues, your body begins to adapt to the new changes. At the same time, your growing uterus rises up into the abdominal cavity, taking some of the stress off of your bladder. For these reasons, the second trimester often brings a welcome break to the frequent bathroom trips.

Third Trimester

Urinary frequency usually returns in the third trimester as your uterus and your growing baby sink down into the pelvis and press on the bladder once again.

Postpartum

The birth of your baby relieves the pressure from your bladder along with the frequent urge to pee. But, your body still needs time to recover. It typically takes eight to 12 weeks for your urinary system to return to the way it was before your pregnancy.

When It’s a Problem

Going to the bathroom often during pregnancy is common and normal. It is usually not a cause for concern. However, frequent urination can be a sign of a health problem. During pregnancy, frequent urination can mean the following.

Bladder Infection

Urinary frequency is one of the signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a bladder infection. You can have bacteria in your urine without any signs or symptoms, but a UTI can have other symptoms such as pain, burning, an urge to go again right after you just went, blood in the urine, or a fever.

Your doctor will ask you if you are having any urinary symptoms at your prenatal visits, but be sure to call the office if you think you may have an infection.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that comes on during pregnancy and goes away after the birth of a baby. It develops when there is too much sugar in the blood.

An increase in urination is one of the signs of gestational diabetes. Other symptoms are thirst and fatigue. These symptoms are also typical of pregnancy, so it can be hard to tell the difference. That’s why your doctor will test you for gestation diabetes during your pregnancy.  

Other Causes

Other causes of frequent urination can include:

Coping Tips

Pregnancy and frequent bathroom breaks go hand in hand. There is no way to get around it or stop it. However, you can get through it. Here are a few tips for dealing with frequent urination during pregnancy. 

  1. Drink enough fluids: You probably don’t want to drink more if you are already worried about having to run to the bathroom, but you need to hydrate your body. You are losing extra fluid through your urine, so you do not want to reduce your fluid intake to try to stop frequent urination. You should continue to drink at least eight glasses of water or other healthy liquids each day.
  2. Drink fluids during the day: It can be frustrating and exhausting if you have to get up multiple times during the night to pee. So, to decrease nighttime urination, you can try to meet your daily fluid intake goals by drinking more fluids in the morning and afternoon. As bedtime approaches, you can drink less. It is still important to take in at least 64 ounces or approximately 2000 milliliters of fluids each day.
  3. Stay away from caffeine: Caffeine is a diuretic. It removes water from your body. You’re more likely to need to use the bathroom after you drink caffeinated beverages. So, it may help if you limit or skip the coffee, tea, and soda. You can opt for caffeine-free drinks instead. 
  1. Lean forward when you pee: When you use the bathroom, lean your body forward. Leaning forward can help you to empty your bladder more completely.
  2. Watch your weight: Try to stay within the guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy. Gaining too much weight puts extra pressure on your bladder. 
  3. Avoid constipation: When stool sits in your bowels, it takes up precious space in your abdomen. It adds more to what’s already pushing on your bladder. It may not be possible to avoid constipation altogether, but you can do your best to eat right, drink enough fluids, do a little exercise, and get enough fiber.
  4. Know the signs of a UTI and how to prevent it: Pay attention to your body, any changes in your urinary frequency, and the symptoms of a UTI. To avoid infection, you should go when you feel the urge, try to fully empty your bladder when you go, keep your perineal area clean, and always wipe from front to back.
  5. Rest when you can: Waking up during the night for frequent trips to the bathroom can interfere with quality sleep and lead to fatigue during the day. Take a nap if it’s possible, or at least try to sit and rest with your feet up for a few minutes during the day.

    Leaking Urine

    The frequent urge to pee can also lead to a little bit of urine leaking out when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or move a certain way. This type of urinary incontinence is called stress incontinence.

    If you’re a first-time mom, it may happen toward the end of your pregnancy when your uterus is large and pressing on the bladder. When there’s any additional pressure from a sneeze or laugh, the bladder muscles cannot hold in the urine.

    If this isn’t your first baby, you may start to leak urine earlier in your pregnancy. It may even continue after your baby is born.

    A few tips to deal with stress incontinence are: 

    1. Be sure it’s urine: If you’re not sure whether or not the fluid is urine, you should call your doctor. Your water (amniotic fluid) can also leak before it breaks, especially as you get close to your due date.
    2. Watch what you eat: Some foods and drinks can irritate the bladder, so you can try to stay away from caffeine, carbonation, citrus fruits, and spicy foods. 
    3. Empty your bladder very often: A full bladder will leak more, so try to keep it empty by going to the bathroom every two hours or so during the day. 
    4. Learn and practice Kegel exercises: Kegels strengthen and tone the pelvic muscles. Studies show they can help during childbirth and with incontinence both during and after pregnancy. 
    5. Cross your legs: Before a cough or sneeze, you can cross your legs or squeeze your pelvic muscles to help keep the urine from leaking out.
    6. Wear a pantyliner or a pad: You can catch unexpected leaks with a sanitary napkin. If you need a little more protection, you can use undergarments made for leaking. Just be sure to change them often and keep your perineal area as clean and dry as possible to prevent irritation and infection. 

      Not Peeing Often

      Some women do not experience a noticeable increase in urinary frequency during pregnancy. It can be totally normal for you. However, you may not be going to the bathroom often enough because: 

      • You are not taking in enough fluids: If you’re not drinking enough throughout the day, you can become dehydrated. It can also lead to an infection.
      • You are holding it in: Holding your urine in can lead to urinary retention and a UTI.

      If you still believe you're not going to the bathroom often even though you are drinking enough fluids and not holding in, you should talk to your doctor. 

      A Word From Verywell

      Frequent urination is a common discomfort of pregnancy. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent it. It can be annoying and exhausting, but thankfully it’s not harmful to you or your baby.

      A better understanding of why it happens and how to deal with it can help you get through it and prevent it from getting in the way of your daily life and nightly rest. With some knowledge and a little luck, you may get to spend less time in the bathroom and more time enjoying your pregnancy and preparing for your new little bundle of joy.

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      Article Sources

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