Managing urinary issues during pregnancy
By Kristi York
on April 19, 2013
You’re aware of your bladder like never before
when you’re pregnant – and not just because
there are baby feet constantly tap-dancing all
over it or because ultrasounds require an overly
full bladder. Fortunately your bladder usually
returns to normal after delivery, so think of it as
a short-term membership in an exclusive club.
Call it Urine Nation.
Here are some of the most common issues
you and your bladder might experience.
Pregnancy hormones cause blood to flow
more quickly through your kidneys, so your
bladder refi lls faster. Combine that with the
fact that your ballooning uterus is taking up
more internal real estate. Your frequent trips
to the bathroom are completely normal, and
there isn’t much you can do about it. Try to
completely empty your bladder when you go
(leaning forward may help) and avoid drinking
a lot of fl uids before bed.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urethra,
move upward, and multiply specifi cally at
the bladder (known as cystitis) or randomly
along the urinary tract. Beware of these classic
a burning sensation when urinating;
- frequent need to urinate but only passing
small amounts of urine;
- lower abdominal pain.
Not treating UTIs during pregnancy can
lead to kidney infection, which can in turn
lead to a higher risk of preterm labour and
low birthweight, says Dr. Patricia Smith,
a maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist at
Hamilton Health Sciences Centre. She says,
“Treated with antibiotics, the symptoms will
improve rapidly. It is important to take the
full course of antibiotics, to eliminate all the
bacteria that are causing the infection. Avoiding
intercourse and drinking plenty of fl uids to
wash out the bacteria may also help.”
This is fancy talk for “bladder infection without
symptoms.” It is found in about fi ve percent of
pregnancies, says Dr. Smith. “Since we know
that UTIs can lead to complications for both
the mother and baby, a course of antibiotics is
Stress urinary incontinence
The muscles around your bladder are under a
lot of pressure, and for some women, they just
don’t tighten up and close everything off like
they used to. This results in your peeing your
pants a bit when you cough, laugh or sneeze.
Invest in a value pack of panty liners as a
Urine charge: Tips for a healthy bladder
This simple exercise – tightening your pelvic floor
muscles that you use to control flow of urine –
helps retain the limited bladder control you have
while pregnant. Even more important, they’ll help
you regain control post-delivery. Do them for 10
seconds at a time.
Drink cranberry juice
Research has shown that cranberry juice may make
your urine more acidic as well as prevent bacteria
from settling on the walls of the urinary tr act. Check
the label, though, to ensure you’re drinking pure
juice, not a juice blend containing higher amounts
of sugar and other fruit juices.
You and your baby need plenty of fluids during
pregnancy. Avoid natural diuretics like pop, tea and
coffee. Fill up your water bottle in the morning and
try to drink the contents before lunch. Then, refill it
for sipping through the afternoon.
Originally published in May/June 2013.
By Kristi York|
April 19, 2013