You may notice early on in your pregnancy that your bladder now seems to hold about as much as a thimble. No, you’re not imagining it, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Frequent urination is a very common early pregnancy symptom.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing (perhaps having a pee as you read this!), get comfortable and let’s explore why you need to pee so much.
There’s a dang baby on your dang bladder!
This isn’t entirely true… just yet. You’ll certainly feel little arms and legs poking away at your bladder further on in your pregnancy, but in the early stages your baby is teenie tiny. But, your uterus is growing and making room for him or her to get bigger. This will put pressure on your bladder, and lead to more peeing.
(Just ignore those strange looks from coworkers when you make your seventh trip to the bathroom for the day).
Your kidney is an overachiever
Put simply, your body’s fluid levels are rising. Women (very generally) gain about 12kg of fluid weight during pregnancy, and at the start of your pregnancy this process is well underway. Your kidneys need to work harder than ever to flush all that extra fluid out, and this will result in more peeing than usual.
Ole mate hormones are at it again
In early pregnancy, your body is being bombarded by hormones like progesterone and chorionic gonadotropin (don’t pretend you didn’t try to sound that one out in your head). These hormones increase your urge to pee, but the good news is it should subside a little by the second trimester. (Phewf).
You may need to do some pelvic floor exercises
You’ve probably heard the word about your pelvic floor. Maybe your women’s health physio has started working with you to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles in preparation for birth. If you’re very early on in your pregnancy (or just reading this article because you’re curious), it may be new to you!
Your pelvic floor muscles are the unsung heroes that keep you from peeing your pants every day. They help you keep it in until you’re at a suitable location for urinating in a socially acceptable way (in a toilet, we hope). During pregnancy and birth, they take a real beating. By the time you’re 80 years old, they may be so worn down that you lose bladder control altogether. BUT by doing regular exercises you can strengthen the muscles and show that urge to pee who’s boss!
If you’re leaking a bit during pregnancy, your doctor or physio may recommend exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Things to note about pregnancy urination:
It shouldn’t be painful
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing urinary tracts infections (UTIs) – as if we don’t have enough going on with our bodies. Changed conditions and hormones in your body can be a key cause, and while it’s not a HUGE deal, if this happens to you during pregnancy you should get it treated straight away.
Painful peeing can be a key sign that you have a UTI, along with uncontrollable urges to pee, having a temperature, blood in your urine or nausea and vomiting.
It’ll continue in your postpartum
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section, it’s common to experience temporary loss of bladder control after you give birth. Your muscles have stretched a LOT, so it’s understandable.
Again, your care team will recommend pelvic floor exercises to keep on top of this and you should regain control after 6 weeks or so.
It doesn’t mean you should drink less
Peeing up a storm while you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you’re overhydrated. Doctors advise against drinking less or holding urine in during pregnancy. Hydration is super important while pregnant, and your water intake should go up to around 13 eight-ounce glasses (or about 3 litres) per day.
So don’t try to pee less, just go with the flow (literally).