What Are the Causes of Frequent Urination?
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy, even prior to a missed period, can be an increase in trips to the bathroom. Like so many pregnancy symptoms , this one can be pinned on hormones. After the embryo has implanted in your uterus, your body produces a pregnancy hormone known as hCG ( human chorionic gonadotropin) which can trigger an increase in urination.
Unfortunately this issue is not limited to the first trimester. As your pregnancy progresses, your blood volume increases nearly 50 percent over its pre-pregnancy level. This extra fluid gets processed through your kidneys and ends up in your bladder and you’re off to the bathroom again. As baby grows, your uterus expands, pushing down on your bladder, urethra and pelvic floor muscles. This pressure on the bladder can cause some pregnant women to experience “stress urinary incontinence”–that little dribble of urine that leaks out when sneezing, coughing, laughing or when lifting heavy objects or doing some types of exercise. Towards the end of your pregnancy your urination situation may worsen a bit as baby moves lower (in preparation for delivery) and puts added pressure on your bladder.
You may feel like you’re on an endless loop to the loo (especially annoying in the middle of the night!) but there are ways to ease your discomfort and to keep your bladder healthy throughout your pregnancy.
What You Can Do To Ease Your Discomfort
If you’re feeling like you have to constantly pee, your natural inclination may be to cut back on fluids. Not so fast! It’s important to stay hydrated for the sake of both your and baby’s health. You can cut back on liquids in the hours before you go to sleep, but in that case you’ll want to drink plenty during the day. To reduce bathroom visits, avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea that have a diuretic effect. To help prevent leaks, don’t let your bladder get to full and empty your bladder completely by leaning forward when you pee. Always empty your bladder before exercising.
Immediately following delivery, you may need to pee even more—this is because your body is excreting the extra fluid that accumulated during pregnancy. In about five days you should see your frequency return to normal.
How You Can Maintain a Healthy Bladder
The weakening of the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and childbirth can lead to urinary incontinence. To minimize the risk and prevent other pelvic floor problems, do your Kegels! These easy-to-do exercises (you can do them while driving, watching TV or checking your email) will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Start doing them in your first trimester and keep them up after you give birth. Losing the baby weight also reduces the risk of post-partum incontinence (as if you need another incentive to get your pre-baby body back). A study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that among women who had incontinence during pregnancy, the odds of still having the problem six months after delivery fell by two percent for every two pounds a woman dropped after giving birth.
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