Your body undergoes several changes during pregnancy. While a few are expected as a routine part of pregnancy, some changes might need medical attention. Smelly urine is one of the common problems associated with pregnancy. Foul-smelling urine during pregnancy can prove to be uncomfortable and embarrassing for most women. You may notice the occurrence of smelly urine during the first trimester of pregnancy, or even towards the later stages.
What Causes Smelly Urine in Pregnancy?
There could be many reasons for strong-smelling urine during pregnancy that are pregnancy-related; some of these will need a doctor’s attention. Here are a few common causes of smelly urine during pregnancy:
1. A Heightened Sense of Smell
During pregnancy, your hormone levels are on the rise and even a subtle change in urine odour will be noticeable to you. This increased sensitivity to smells can cause you to think that your urine now has a strong smell.
Urine has little to no odour in general, but it contains ammonia that gets diluted by the water you drink. Not drinking enough water can lead to the concentration of urine which can emit a strong smell. Consuming less water can be the cause of dehydration which is not healthy for you or the baby.
3. Urinary Infections
Urinary tract infection is a common infection that occurs during pregnancy and is often the reason for foul-smelling urine. UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) also causes fever, back pain, and pain during urination.
4. Vaginal Infections
A vaginal infection called bacterial vaginosis (BV) can cause smelly urine and is often noticed when urine mixes with vaginal secretions. This fishy-smelling odour can be embarrassing at times, but more importantly, BV could increase the chances of going into labour early.
5. Urine Leakage
The bladder tissues and the urethra become slightly relaxed during pregnancy, which causes some amount of involuntary urine leakage. Also known as urinary incontinence, this condition is heightened when you laugh or sneeze at a time when you’re holding in urine. Strong smelling urine is an early pregnancy symptom as it begins as early as the first trimester of pregnancy.
Inclusion of foods like broccoli and asparagus in your daily diet can also be a cause of strong-smelling urine. Consider eating smaller portions of such items if you have smelly urine.
7. Taking Supplements
As a pregnant woman, you will be advised to consume supplements that will help your pregnancy. However, consuming supplements, especially ones rich in vitamin B, can cause your urine to smell (and even change colour). Consult with your doctor before you take any supplements. Do not take unnecessary supplements, and enrich your diet with foods that are rich in iron, calcium, and folic acid.
How to Treat Urine Odour During Pregnancy
There are a few simple and easy treatments for smelly urine during pregnancy. They are:
1. Stay Hydrated
During pregnancy, your body’s demand for water increases. Hence, it is very important to remain hydrated throughout the day. It will surely increase the frequency of urination, but it will also address the demands of your body for water. It will dilute your urine, flush out the bacteria, and reduce the chances of any foul smell.
2. Keep Yourself Clean
It is important to maintain personal hygiene in the genital area in order to reduce the unpleasant smell of urine. The remnants of urine can linger on your clothes and undergarments and can cause an unpleasant smell along with bacterial growth. Clean yourself thoroughly while bathing and every time you visit the washroom. Using a pH-balanced wash is highly recommended in such cases.
3. Medical Treatment
Speak to your doctor regarding this condition. Based on the severity, they may prescribe an anti-bacterial treatment or non-teratogenic drugs to address urine odour. Certain kind of medication during pregnancy can cause urine odour as a side-effect, so inform your doctor if you notice the same.
4. Urinate Often
During pregnancy or even otherwise, one should not hold in urine for long periods. You should urinate whenever you feel the urge instead of waiting for a full bladder. This ensures that the urine is never concentrated, thus reducing the chances of having a foul smell.
5. Reduce Protein Intake
Restrict the intake of protein-rich foods in your diet. Doing so can reduce the production of urea in the body, which helps get rid of the bad odour that can develop. (unsure of this point. Need expert’s confirmation)
6. Get Regular Checkups
It is important to check if strong-smelling urine is accompanied by any other symptoms. If yes, the reasons could be problems related to the kidney and bladder, or sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
7. Increase Intake of Vitamin C
By adding vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet, it is possible to avoid urinary tract infections (UTI). Fruits like oranges, kiwis, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C and can help keep that strong odour away.
Although smelly urine isn’t life-threatening, you should address the problem as soon as you notice it. Also, it is important to check if you have any other symptoms along with smelly urine as they can indicate other serious problems.
Resources and References: Medical News Today