Bladder and Bowel Problems During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a joy but, boy, does it come with its share of issues. You will experience discomforts, some of which will pass while others remain. There are those you will experience during the first months while others emerge just before delivery. A few issues include constant urination, bloating and constipation. Every pregnancy differs and you may not experience all of these. Let’s go a little deeper on these.

Frequent Urination

Frequent urination occurs during the beginning of the first trimester and increases as you near the end. Some of the causes include:

  • Increased blood flow to the kidneys – it increases by about 35 to 60 percent during pregnancy. The additional blood flow makes the kidneys produce more urine by 25 percent following conception. It explains the frequent urination during the first few weeks. 
  • The growing uterus and baby – There is also the fact that the growing uterus increases pressure on the bladder. This pressure is the reason the frequency of urination increases during the last few weeks during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy hormone levels

It is important to keep drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water to avoid dehydration. To ease the frequent urination:-

  • Avoid drinks with mild diuretic effect such as tea, coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks. 
  • Drink plenty of water during the day and avoid drinking before bed time to avoid nighttime visits


Many women experience a level of urinary incontinence during pregnancy. This is the involuntary release of urine. It may or may not be present for an expectant mum. 

According to research, incontinence is caused by: 

  • BMI
  • Age
  • An overactive bladder-this is caused by regular bathroom breaks
  • Pressure from the uterus

The good news is that it will most likely go away after childbirth. 


Constipation may happen during your early pregnancy due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy. Signs that you’re constipated include:- 

  1. Less frequent bowels
  2. You strain to pass stools
  3. Your stools are lumpy and hard
  4. You do not entirely empty your bowels

Reasons for constipation

  • Hormonal changes
  • Iron and vitamin supplements intake
  •  Pressure on the rectum from the uterus

You can ease constipation by doing the following:-

  • Increase your intake of fiber (such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods
  • Drink warm liquids in the morning
  • Drink more water
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid straining during your bowel movement
  • Ask your doctor about using a stool softener or laxative
  • Take iron supplements only if necessary (seek medical advice on this one)


Another dreaded problem during pregnancy is the nasty hemorrhoids. Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are swollen and enlarged veins inside or around the anus and lower rectum. They don’t just occur during pregnancy. The biggest cause of hemorrhoids in pregnancy is constipation and pressure. 

They can be itchy and achy. They can bleed and feel sore. Hemorrhoids can be very hard to ignore. You can feel them on your anus. They make bowel movements and even sitting unbearable. 

What causes Hemorrhoids?

These include:

  • Constipation during pregnancy
  • Increased pressure and circulation on the vagina and rectum 

How to ease hemorrhoids

  • Avoid constipation (see how to ease constipation)
  • Avoid standing and sitting for lengthy periods
  • Avoid straining when passing stool
  • Use a cold or icy cloth to ease the pain
  • Avoid rubbing the area

Consult your doctor in case you need more help. The good thing is that hemorrhoids typically disappear after weeks of giving birth. This is if it was not an issue before pregnancy. 


Please note that development differs from one child to another

Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: kidspot, pregnancybirthbaby, webmd, babycenter, webmd

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