Unborn Child Causing Pressure on Mother's Bladder

For many women, pregnancy is a time fraught with discomfort. You may need to go to the bathroom more than you did before you became pregnant, especially in the last trimester when the baby is pressing on your bladder, causing you to wonder if this is normal or something to worry about.

A pregnant woman holding her abdomen on the sofa. (Image: byryo/iStock/Getty Images)

Causes of Bladder Pressure

During pregnancy, you may find you need to visit the restroom frequently, beginning in the first trimester when your hormones kick in and your uterus begins to expand. After 16 weeks gestation, your body adjusts to the hormones and your bladder will move back slightly to accommodate your growing uterus. This usually provides temporary relief from the pressure and frequent urination. Unfortunately, this pressure and need to urinate frequently will return during the third trimester when the baby's head begins to press on your bladder. This pressure during these times is normal and despite the discomfort, is not cause for alarm.


Unfortunately, your obstetrician cannot prescribe any magic solution for your frequent urination and feelings of pressure. However, you can help manage your symptoms in a few ways. When you urinate, lean forward to ensure you are completely emptying your bladder. Practicing Kegel exercises, in which you tighten the muscles around your vagina for three seconds and then relax them, can also help your continence, according to Dr. Roger W. Harms, author of "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy." If you are leaking urine, wear a panty liner or another kind of unscented pad.

When to Consult Your Obstetrician

Frequent urination may cause you to get up several times in the night. However, if your frequent urination is so often that it is severely interfering with your work or sleep, you might have a urinary tract infection. Other symptoms of urinary tract infection include a burning sensation during urination, a change in the color or odor of the urine or a fever. Make an immediate appointment with your obstetrician to prevent the infection from worsening. She can prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.

When to Go to The Hospital

If your urine contains blood or you are passing an abnormally large quantity of urine, go to the hospital. You may have a more serious infection or your water may have broken, releasing some of the amniotic fluid. If you suspect you may be leaking amniotic fluid, contact your obstetrician right away, especially if you are not full term or at least 36 weeks into your pregnancy. Your obstetrician can test the fluid to determine its origins and take steps to help stop the leak if you are pre-term.

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