Frequent Urination During Pregnancy: Is It Normal?
Are trips to the restroom becoming more frequent? When you’re pregnant, so many changes happen to your body that it’s sometimes hard to tell whether they’re normal or not. Frequent urination during pregnancy is one of the more inconvenient symptoms you might experience early on. When you’re out and about and “nature calls,” as it frequently does, it’s important to be near a restroom.
Why is frequent urination so common when you’re pregnant? The most likely culprit is a hormone called HCG, also known as human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is made by the developing embryo after conception takes place. It’s HCG that you measure when you take a pregnancy test. In fact, having to urinate more frequently might be the first symptom you notice after you conceive.
HCG also increases blood flow to the pelvic region where your kidneys and bladder are located. That’s why you feel the urge to run to the bathroom every hour or two during the first trimester of pregnancy. Another reason you might feel the need to urinate more often is because your growing uterus is pressing on your bladder.
Frequent Urination Later in Pregnancy
You can also experience frequent urination late during the third trimester of pregnancy – but for a different reason. This time, it’s because your baby’s head is pressing on your bladder. At this stage, you may even have stress urinary incontinence, meaning you release a few drops of urine when you cough, laugh, or sneeze. It might be safest to wear a sanitary pad, just to be sure.
Although it’s not abnormal to have to urinate more often when you’re pregnant, it can also be a sign of a UTI, also known as a urinary tract infection. UTIs are fairly common during pregnancy and one of the symptoms is an increased need to urinate. Other symptoms you might experience include burning with urination, passing blood in your urine, mild abdominal cramping, back pain, and feeling like you need to urinate with little or nothing coming out. Less commonly, you might experience nausea or a fever.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find out if you have a urinary tract infection. Your doctor will take a urine sample and check it to see if you have white blood cells or bacteria in your urine. These findings would suggest that you have a urinary tract infection. They may also send your urine for a culture to see what kind of bacteria grows. Most urinary tract infections involve the bladder and lower portion of your urinary tract. One danger is the infection can spread to your kidneys. If this happens, you’re usually sicker and you need more intensive therapy or even hospitalization. Having a kidney infection also increases the risk of preterm labor and of delivering a low birthweight baby.
The Bottom Line
Frequent urination is common during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester and near the end of the third trimester. Yet, you shouldn’t have burning with urination, abdominal discomfort, back pain, or fever. If you do, it’s time to see your doctor.
WebMD. “Pregnancy and Urinary Tract Infections”
Medscape Reference. “Common Pregnancy Complaints and Questions”