Find out why you have to pee so much during pregnancy and what you can do about it.

How can I avoid having to urinate so frequently during pregnancy?

Needing to urinate often is an unavoidable fact of life for most pregnant women. But these tips may limit the number of times you need to visit the bathroom:

Skip certain beverages. Limit your consumption of coffee, tea, and soda, because these are all diuretics, meaning they increase urine production and make you need to pee more often. (Alcohol is also a diuretic.)

Empty your bladder. When you pee, lean forward to empty your bladder completely.

Don’t hold it. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need. Waiting can actually weaken your pelvic floor muscles in the long run.

Why do I leak urine when I sneeze or laugh?

Both the pressure of your uterus on your bladder and weak pelvic floor muscles may cause you to leak urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze, lift heavy objects, or do certain types of exercise, like jogging. This is called “stress urinary incontinence,” and it’s most likely to happen in your third trimester or in the postpartum period.

You may be able to prevent it somewhat by not letting your bladder get too full, so don’t ignore the urge to pee. And remember to empty your bladder before exercising.

Doing Kegel exercises, which strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, can also help minimize stress incontinence and make it easier to recover from childbirth. It’s a good idea to begin Kegel exercises early in pregnancy and continue them postpartum. (Make Kegels a lifelong habit!)

And if need be, wear a mini pad or panty liner to catch any leaks. (Keep fresh pads handy in your purse or diaper bag.)

How can I avoid waking up at night to pee?

You can try drinking plenty of fluids during the day, then cutting back in the hours before you go to bed. But make sure you don’t go thirsty in the attempt to make bathroom visits less frequent. It’s important for you to stay well hydrated.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 10 8-ounce cups of water or other beverages every day, more or less – whatever is enough that your urine looks pale yellow or clear, not dark yellow or cloudy.

In any case, you’ll probably find yourself needing to get up increasingly often at night to urinate as your pregnancy progresses, especially if you have a lot of swelling in your lower limbs and feet. That’s in part because when you lie down, your legs are level with your upper body. This makes it easier for your blood to carry some of the fluid you retained during the day to your bladder – now that it doesn’t have to work against gravity.

As one mom we know puts it, “It’s nature’s cruel way of training you for the many nights of interrupted sleep once your baby arrives!”

Is frequent urination ever a sign of a problem?

Frequent urination can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), the most common kind of bacterial infection in pregnant women. Left untreated, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, preterm labor, or both. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Blood-tinged urine
  • Lower abdominal pain or pelvic discomfort
  • Feeling the need to urinate even when you’re only able to produce a few drops at a time

When will this constant need to pee ease up?

You can expect to start peeing less soon after your baby is born. For the first few days postpartum, you’ll urinate in greater quantities and even more often as your body gets rid of the extra fluid from pregnancy. But after about five days, you should urinate about how often you did before you were pregnant.

A few women – particularly women who had stress urinary incontinence early in pregnancy – continue to have problems with leaking urine long after giving birth. If you still have stress urinary incontinence or any other bothersome symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.

Frequent urination is a common pregnancy symptom. But with new symptoms popping up all the time, it can be hard to know what’s par for the pregnancy course and what’s potentially serious. Our article on pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore can help.

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