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 Are The Causes Of Frequent Urination?
A spike in your trips to the bathroom can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, even before a missed period. And like so many pregnancy symptoms, this one can be pinned on hormones. After the embryo implants in your uterus, your body produces a pregnancy hormone called hCG (aka human chorionic gonadotropin), which can trigger more an increase in urination.
Unfortunately, the frequent urge to pee isn't limited to just the first trimester. As your pregnancy progresses, your pre-pregnancy blood volume increases by nearly 50 percent. This extra fluid gets processed through your kidneys and ends up in your bladder—meaning you’re off to the bathroom again. Your uterus expands as baby grows, 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”–you know, that little dribble of urine that leaks out when you sneeze, cough, laugh, lift heavy objects or do 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 even more pressure on your bladder.
Right after childbirth, you might need to pee even more. Why? Your body is excreting the extra fluid that accumulated during pregnancy. But in about five days your pee schedule should be back to normal.
How To Ease Frequent Urination
If you’re feeling like you have to constantly pee, your first move 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 down on liquids in the hours before you go to sleep, but in that case you’ll want to drink plenty during the day.
To cut back on bathroom visits, avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, which have a diuretic effect (meaning they make you pee more). To help prevent leaks, don’t let your bladder get totally full. Empty your bladder completely by leaning forward when you pee, and always empty your bladder before exercising.
How To Keep Your Bladder Healthy
The weakening of the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and childbirth can lead to urinary incontinence. How can you lower 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.
After you deliver, losing the baby weight also reduces the risk of postpartum incontinence. 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 she dropped after giving birth.
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