Your pregnant body
How the bladder works
The bladder is a balloon-shaped muscle that stores urine. Muscles under the bladder keep the urethra (the tube where urine leaves your body) closed and keep urine from leaking out.
The pressure of a full bladder signals your brain, giving you the “urge” to urinate. When you urinate, the muscles around the urethra relax and the bladder tightens to squeeze urine out.
Causes of frequent urination during pregnancy
Your need to go to the bathroom will change throughout the stages of pregnancy. Sometimes, you may feel the need to urinate more often. Other times, you’ll feel like you’re back to normal.
- In the first weeks of pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which can make you urinate more often.
- Your body contains more fluid during pregnancy.
- Your kidneys work harder throughout your pregnancy to flush waste products out of your body.
- As the uterus grows and rises higher during the second trimester, some women find that they don't have to urinate as frequently as before.
- Towards the end of pregnancy, the baby moves lower to prepare for delivery. This increases the pressure on your bladder, causing even more frequent urination.
- The added pressure may wake you up several times each night to urinate.
- It may also force some urine to leak out, particularly if the muscles around the urethra are not very strong.
For the first few days after delivery, you may urinate even more often as your body gets rid of the extra fluid of pregnancy. But after a few days, your need to urinate should return to what it was before you became pregnant.
What you can do
Here are some tips for dealing with frequent urination or leaking during pregnancy:
Stay away from caffeinated drinks.
- Caffeine can make you urinate more frequently.
- Avoid beverages like coffee, tea, colas and other caffeinated drinks.
Do Kegel exercises.
- These simple exercises can help stop urine leaks by strengthening the muscles that keep the urethra (the tube where urine leaves your body) closed. They may even help prepare these muscles for labor and delivery.
- Do these exercises by squeezing the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine and holding them for 10 seconds.
- Do this 10-20 times in a row at least three times a day.
Avoid drinking fluids right before bedtime.
- Cut down on nighttime visits to the bathroom by drinking fluids earlier in the day.
- Reduce how much you drink in the early evenings and nighttime.
- But be sure to drink adequate amounts of water and juice during the day to make sure that you are not robbing your body of vital fluids.
Empty your bladder completely.
- To help prevent leaks, be sure that your bladder doesn't get too full.
- Try not to “hold it” when you feel the urge to urinate. This may mean more trips to the bathroom.
- When you urinate, try leaning forward a bit in order to completely empty your bladder. Always empty your bladder before exercising.
Wear a sanitary pad or panty shield.
- A minipad or panty shield can catch unexpected leaks caused by coughing or sneezing.
When to call your provider
Talk to your health care provider right away if you have any of these warning signs:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- The urge to urinate again immediately after you empty your bladder.
- Blood in the urine
These signs could mean you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), the most common infection in pregnant women. If untreated, a UTI can lead to more serious infection or preterm labor.