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Why Do Pregnancy Women Have to Urinate So Much?

Katlyn Joy |16, June 2014


It's frequently one of the first tell-tale signs of pregnancy. When a woman is running back and forth to the bathroom so much that she's wearing a hole in the carpet, it's probably due to pregnancy and due to either morning sickness or increased urination.

What causes increased urination during pregnancy?

First, to understand what is happening, you must understand the general layout of your plumbing. Think of your bladder as a balloon, but instead of mylar or some rubbery material, it is made of muscle and instead of air, it holds urine. Muscles under your bladder keep the tube carrying urine out from your bladder closed and prevents leaking. That tube is called your urethra. When this balloon, aka your bladder, is full, signals are transmitted to your brain telling you, "I gotta go!"

During urination, the muscles keeping things closed relax, and the bladder tightens, allowing urination to occur.

How Pregnancy Affects Urination

In early pregnancy, the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin increases. This is the hormone home pregnancy tests detect to determine pregnancy. This hormone increase results in a rise in blood flow to your pelvic region, which makes you feel the need to urinate more. You may even feel a real urgency when your bladder is barely containing any urine.

During pregnancy, the fluid in your body greatly increases, which also means needing to run to the bathroom more. This will put some increased strain on your kidneys to flush your body of waste materials. Women are at a higher risk of urinary tract infections, which can in turn lead to kidney infections, so don't hold your pee just because you're sick of running to the restroom.

You may experience a bit of a reprieve during the middle of your pregnancy, when your uterus lifts up higher in your abdomen and baby is not so heavy yet. However, later in the final trimester, you will again be waddling back and forth to the toilet as the uterus presses down on the bladder. You may even experience sudden discomfort when a little baby part, such as a well-aimed foot, makes contact with a spot near your bladder.

Also late in pregnancy, don't be surprised if you experience a bit of urinary incontinence. It is most likely to occur if the muscles around your urethra are lax. It will most likely happen when you sneeze, cough or laugh.

How to Deal with It?

1. Do Kegel exercises faithfully.

To identify these muscles, stop your flow of urination. The muscles you contract are the ones you will be exercising. However, do not do the exercises with a full bladder. You only do it to correctly feel the right muscles initially. Squeeze and hold the muscles, working up to a count of 10. Repeat 10 to 20 times, and do these exercises a few times daily.

Doing Kegels will also help you keep your muscles in shape to prevent urinary incontinence after baby, and to help you be in better shape for sex.

2. Avoid caffeine.

These aren't good for a prenatal diet anyway, so avoid sodas, ice or hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Caffeine overworks the bladder.

3. Watch the timing of your fluid intake.

You definitely need to drink plenty of milk, water and juice, but get those drinks in well ahead of bedtime. Try to cut off your fluid intake in the last hour or two before turning in to avoid having to get up to pee once you're comfortably in bed or asleep.

4. Completely empty your bladder, and never delay going to urinate.

You may need to sit forward and tilt your pelvis to completely empty the bladder. Never put off going to the bathroom.

5. Wear pads to catch any leaks.

You'll likely need these late in pregnancy for the increased vaginal discharge, anyway. If you keep your bladder emptied you'll have less of a chance of leaking, too.

Warning Symptoms

  • Fever.
  • If you see blood in your urine.
  • Should you pee and immediately feel the urge again to pee, that's not normal.
  • If you experience burning or pain while emptying your bladder, it might be a sign of an infection.

All of these symptoms are possible indicators of a urinary tract infection. Pregnant women are prone to getting these types of infections, so a call the doctor is warrented should you experience these symptoms.

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Daisy Feb 1, 2017 05:12:34 AM ET

I'm 52 and I feel like I'm pregnant. I did the urine test but it came out negative. I feel movements and I get a lot of heartburn.

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