Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s body. While we mostly focus on bodily changes, the organs of the body experience change too. The bladder, for instance, is one of the most vulnerable organs of the body and it goes significant changes during pregnancy but these changes can result in bladder pain at times. In this article, we will be discussing the various changes that happen in the bladder during pregnancy, its various causes, and treatment, if any.
What Changes Occur in the Bladder During Pregnancy?
Hormonal changes during pregnancy result in an expansion of kidneys, which then results in overproduction of urine, which the bladder has to get rid of. Moreover, as the baby continues to grow inside you, further pressure will be put on the already stretched organ. Let’s take a look at the changes that happen in the bladder trimester-wise.
Changes in the First Trimester
Most women experience the need to pee very often even before they take a pregnancy test. During the first trimester, you will experience the following:
- You might have the urge to urinate frequently.
- As soon as fertilization occurs, your kidneys will be flooded with a lot of hormones, resulting in an increase in the production of urine.
- Moreover, the uterus will begin to expand, putting extra pressure on the bladder, causing bladder pain in early pregnancy.
Changes in the Second Trimester
Second trimester is the time when you can relax as things get a little better around this time.
- Urine production will be less, so there won’t be enough changes in the bladder during the second trimester.
- You may still experience bladder pain in the second trimester of your pregnancy.
Changes in the Third Trimester
During the third trimester, you are more likely to experience the discomforts of the first trimester.
- During these months, you will have the urge to urinate frequently.
- There will be more pressure on your bladder in the third trimester of your pregnancy as the baby grows.
Reasons for Bladder Pain During Pregnancy
Instead of just pressure, some women may even feel actual bladder pain. A few causes of bladder pain are given below:
Increased Production of Urine
Increased urine production is the most obvious reason why you feel pressure on the bladder. However, for some women, this causes pain. During pregnancy, the body will begin to increase hormone production. These hormones are responsible for increasing the speed and volume of blood streaming through the body.
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, the body would circulate up to 50% more blood than before. This causes frequent urination because your bladder would fill up more quickly as the extra fluids from the blood flow are processed by the kidneys. During the last few weeks, this will become a problem because the growing uterus would be putting more pressure on the bladder.
Urinary Tract Infection
A UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is one of the most common causes of bladder pain during pregnancy. UTI occurs due to bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract. A urinary tract infection can occur any time during the pregnancy but is more common between the pregnancy weeks 6 and 24. Usually, this occurs because of the pressure the uterus puts on the bladder. This pressure traps the urine by blocking it from the bladder to the tract, causing an infection.
Usually, a benign bacterium known as Escherichia coli causes the UTI that occurs during pregnancy. However, the infection can sometimes be caused by a bacteria called the GBS (Group B Strep), causing a more severe form of UTI.
Your healthcare provider will usually suspect the possibility of a UTI and may order some tests to determine the type of treatment required. You could also watch out for the following signs:
- Cramps or pain below the navel.
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating.
- Increased need to urinate and a sense of urgency.
- Fever symptoms, such as sweats and chills.
- Traces of blood or mucus in the urine.
This is another common condition during pregnancy and occurs when the bladder is unable to empty completely, usually caused by blockages. It is more common during pregnancy because the uterus grows in size, causing the natural flow of urine to be blocked. To check for urinary stasis yourself, you could look for the following symptoms:
- Urge to urinate frequently.
- Inability to urinate.
- Pain while urinating.
- Bloating in the lower belly (this may not be always noticeable).
- Pain, usually around the lower abdomen.
- Increased cramping or contractions during the 2nd or 3rd trimester.
Urinary stasis is usually diagnosed with a PVR (postvoid residual measurement) and a physical examination. A PVR is when the doctor will check the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. This is usually measured using an ultrasound scan.
Ways to Treat and Ease Bladder Pain While Pregnant
The first thing you must-do if you are experiencing bladder pain is to check with the doctor. Additionally, these tips would help.
Tips to Help With Excessive Urine Production
It can be very painful and annoying to experience constant pressure on your bladder. Fortunately, there are certain ways to prevent it:
- Avoid beverages like coffee, and soda and juice as they result in excess urine production.
- Drink at least around 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Pregnancy can increase the chances of dehydration and cause a number of problems.
- Lean forward while urinating to make sure the bladder becomes completely empty.
Moreover, when you feel like urinating, do it. Holding can also lead to many problems.
Tips to Help Prevent UTI
UTIs can be prevented by:
- Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.
- Emptying your bladder frequently.
- Wearing cotton underpants.
- Avoiding the use of harsh body wash or soaps in the genital area.
- Avoiding sprays and perfumes.
Doctors usually treat UTIs with a three to seven-day course of antibiotics. Any medicine provided by your doctor would be safe for the baby and the mother, as long as it is taken as prescribed. If these symptoms, including pain after emptying bladder while pregnant does not stop even after taking the course, consult your doctor immediately.
Treating Urinary Stasis
Urinary stasis is a risk factor for recurrent UTI and the healthcare providers usually treat it with certain antibacterial drugs including:
The condition requires treatment as early as possible. If it is left untreated, it could lead to kidney or bladder damage.
If the pain is due to Urinary Stasis or UTI, you will need to take medicines. But the discomfort you feel could also be just another uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. A beneficial tool you can use is the maternity support belt. This can help:
- Support the growing belly
- Elevate the bump a little
- Take some pressure off your bladder
Bladder pain during pregnancy is more common than you think. If you are experiencing sharp pain in the bladder, then it is best you reach out to your healthcare provider so that he/she may rule out any condition you may have and provide the treatment for the same.