Frequent urination is one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms to appear, usually around the time you discover you’re pregnant, or at around 6 weeks.
Some reasons why you’re running for the loo every 5 minutes:
1. Hormonal changes: we blame hormones for everything else, why not frequent urination as well? Pregnancy hormones cause your blood to flow more quickly through your kidneys, producing urine more quickly;
2. Increased blood volume: by the time you deliver, you have 50% more blood volume than before you were pregnant. I know, sometimes you feel like it’s all sitting in your legs, but it’s not! Again this means more fluid is processed by your kidneys, producing urine at a faster rate;
3. External pressure on your bladder from the growing baby: this accounts for more frequent urination in the later stages of pregnancy. Although I’m not there yet, I hear that when the baby moves down into the pelvis your urination unfortunately becomes more frequent, but this is offset by the reduced pressure on your stomach, meaning you can eat more and have less reflux. Really, you have to look at the positives… Sigh.
4. Effects of posture: why do we always need to pee at night? Because it is a cosmic joke… Why pee during the daytime when you’re awake when you can pee at night, have interrupted sleep and turn into a dark-house-wandering-toilet-seeking-zombie. Sorry, I’m sounding bitter… When you lie down to sleep all that fluid that has been giving you lovely cankles* returns to your heart to be pumped out, passing through (you guessed it) the kidneys;
* I wasn’t sure if cankles was an Australian term, so just for completeness sake I looked up the definition via a reputable source…
So what can you do about the frequent urination?
– Reduce intake of diuretics – eg. Tea, coffee, alcohol (if you’re still having the occasional tipple);
– When you think you’ve finished peeing – relax, learn forward, and you’ll be able to pee some more. This is because the internal urethral orifice is placed at the apex of the trigonum vesicae, in the most dependent part of the bladder (the opening of the urinary bladder into the urethra, the tube that carries the urine outside of the body to be peed out, is in the lower most part of the bladder, therefore leaning forward will get any excess urine in the bladder to collect there, enabling you to pee it out and hopefully buy a little extra time before you need to pee again!);
– You can do nothing;
– You can use your frequent trips to the loo as an excuse to get out of things you don’t want to do. “Please excuse me from this (boring) meeting, the meeting room is too far from the toilet…”
Please remember to keep your fluids up and never drink less than you should in an attempt to decrease your frequency of urination; this is bad for you and bad for baby.
NB: not for the faint hearted. In searching through medical literature, you always find some interesting studies. Here’s one I found when looking at studies about the bladder. If you are squeamish in the least, do not read. Consider yourself warned… For those whose interest is piqued, read on…