Constantly Peeing While Pregnant. What Gives!?
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In this article:
- Why do pregnant women pee so much?
- When do you start peeing more during pregnancy?
- How to stop peeing so much while pregnant?
- How long does frequent urination last during pregnancy?
- When to see a doctor about frequent urination
Constantly Peeing While Pregnant. What Gives!?
If there’s one symptom that all pregnant women experience to some degree, it’s constantly peeing while pregnant. While some may escape the nausea, heartburn, and even aching back, the need to use the bathroom every hour is something you’re probably getting pretty tired of—especially when it’s interrupting your precious sleep!
So why do pregnant women pee so much? Is there anything you can do to stop the constant need to pee? While some of it is the nature of the beast (of pregnancy, that is), there are some tips that will help you go longer stretches without the need to pee.
Let’s learn all about why and when frequent urination strikes in pregnancy, and what you can do to stop all those nighttime bathrooms breaks.
Why do pregnant women pee so much?
Whenever I’m reading about various pregnancy symptoms, the same culprit always seems to be behind all of the dreaded discomforts. Yup, you guessed it, the pregnancy hormone hCG.
During pregnancy, this hormone signals your body to increase blood flow to your kidneys which makes them work more quickly and efficiently to rid your body of waste. It also tells them to expand and produce more urine. All of this is in the name of getting waste out of your body faster, and allowing your body to process an increased amount of waste (especially as baby gets bigger!).
The other main reason that pregnant women pee so much is the physical pressure that your growing uterus and baby put on your bladder. As your bladder becomes more and more squished, it will hold less urine before you feel the urge to pee. This becomes most apparent during the third trimester, and especially towards the end of pregnancy when baby is head down and has dropped into the pelvis. This “dropped” position puts baby literally right on your bladder.
When do you start peeing more during pregnancy?
During the first trimester
Constant bathroom trips can be one of the first signs of pregnancy for some women. Yes, it’s true. Right from the very start many women notice an increase in urination during pregnancy. This is because of the increased production of urine by the kidneys, but also because your uterus begins to expand right away. So even when baby is teeny tiny, your expanding uterus, especially during weeks 10-13, presses on your bladder causing you the urge to go.
During the second trimester
Some mamas do notice a break in the constant urge to pee during the second trimester, because at this point your uterus has risen up above your bladder and isn’t yet filled with a big baby. However, it’s not a guarantee that your constant need to go will stop, because your kidneys are still working in overdrive.
During the third trimester
By the third trimester, all pregnant mamas will experience some degree of frequent urination. At this point, your uterus and baby are both big enough to put constant pressure on your bladder. This means that your bladder holds a much smaller amount of urine before your body feels the urge to go. Usually this becomes most pronounced around week 30.
I know that as my due date is drawing nearer, I also notice the urge to pee is more intense when baby is moving and kicking. Often his dance moves in there seem to send his head bouncing up and down on my bladder sending me to the bathroom, fast!
How to stop peeing so much while pregnant?
As you probably know, staying well hydrated during pregnancy is so important. This is because your body needs water in order to produce amniotic fluid, keep up with your extra blood volume, and flush out waste. Additionally, staying well-hydrated during pregnancy is one of your best lines of defense against many pregnancy discomforts such as swelling, fatigue, headaches, constipation, and even stretch marks.
So cutting back on your overall water and fluid intake is definitely not the way to stop peeing so much while pregnant. But there are some things you can try to help yourself go a little longer between bathroom trips:
- Reduce your caffeine intake: Caffeine is a diuretic which will make you have to pee even more often. Most providers recommend limiting caffeine intake during pregnancy anyway, and less bathroom trips is an added benefit
- Try a belly band or pregnancy support belt: Using one of these products can help lift your belly and uterus up off of your bladder. Less pressure on your bladder can help limit your bathroom trips. This tip is usually most effective in the first and second trimesters
- Make an effort to reach your daily fluid intake before 5pm: Reducing fluids closer to bedtime will help you go longer stretches at night without getting up to pee. Think of your fluid intake as an upside down pyramid, with the highest intake at the start of your day
- Empty your bladder completely: After you finish peeing, lean forward and then to each side and try to pee a little more to ensure your bladder is emptying completely when you do pee. Sometimes baby’s position or the pressure from your uterus can prevent you from emptying completely
- Change your position: Usually, you will feel less pressure on your bladder when you are sitting or lying down. Standing and walking put added pressure on your bladder. This is especially true in the third trimester
How long does frequent urination last during pregnancy?
For many expectant mamas, frequent urination lasts for the entire duration of pregnancy, but is most pronounced in the third trimester. The good news is, that once your baby is born you will go back to a normal amount of pee breaks. Your uterus will contract back to its normal size and there will be no more baby in there putting pressure on your poor bladder.
When to see a doctor about frequent urination
Most often, frequent urination during pregnancy is not a cause for concern. However, for some women pregnancy can put them at higher risk for urinary tract infections. This is often caused by an inability or difficultly to completely empty your bladder when you pee. Women who experience UTIs during pregnancy usually have them during the second or third trimester.
So when should you see a doctor about frequent urination? If you are experiencing a fever, chills, pain when urinating, blood in your urine, nausea and vomiting, and/or severe back pain definitely call your provider and get in ASAP. But remember, any time you feel like something isn’t right during your pregnancy, it never hurts to call and voice your concerns. You know your body best and will know when something is off.
Don’t worry mama, this too will pass
While dealing with constant bathroom breaks is one of the more annoying and inconvenient pregnancy symptoms, it will go away after birth. In the meantime, try out the tips in this article to help decrease the trips at least a little. Plan your day in such a way that there is always a bathroom nearby and remember that this won’t last forever!
Office On Women's Health, Urinary incontinence, 2016.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Problems of the Digestive System, January 2014.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Bothersome lower urinary symptoms during pregnancy: a preliminary study using the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire, August 2011.
- Alli Wittbold