Has your urine has become cloudy lately? Should you be worried for your unborn baby?
Cloudy urine during pregnancy can be enough to freak out any expectant mom. After all, we’ve all known women who’ve had complications develop during pregnancy.
Does this mean you’re going to join their ranks? Or could cloudy urine be just a minor speed bump in your quest for a safe delivery?
While your pee may seem like a harmless substance, sometimes it can be a crystal ball into the health of your pregnancy.
If you won’t rest until you play Nancy Drew and solve the mystery of the cloudy pregnancy urine, we’ve got your back. Let’s play super sleuth for you so you can get some much needed stress-free rest.
Is Cloudy Urine in Pregnancy Common?
While we hate to think of anyone else suffering the same anxiety we do about cloudy-looking pee, there is some comfort in hearing other women have also had that problem. When it comes to cloudy urine, you can rest easy — it’s a common problem for pregnant women (source).
Lots of women have stared into the abyss of their toilet, squinting to determine if they see some cloudiness in their urine. Often, they’re right. That cloudiness is there.
But you know what? Many healthy babies have been born, despite their mothers’ cloudy urine. So try not to stress out about it, even though it’s hard.
Causes of Cloudy Urine
There are quite a few reasons a pregnant woman might have cloudy urine. Some of those causes aren’t a reason for alarm and others warrant a trip to the doctor.
It’s okay to take a little while to figure out at home what might be causing your cloudy urine. But if you notice any other symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately. Even if it turns out to be nothing, your doctor should be kept in the loop.
There’s a reason they have the initials MD after their names, and you don’t. You aren’t equipped to handle situations like this — let them do the worrying for you and earn their paychecks.
Now you know not to be a hero when you’re facing a possible medical problem, let’s look at some of the potential causes for your problem.
When you first suspected you were pregnant, you likely peed on a pregnancy test stick to find out for sure. Those tests work because they measure the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin levels in your urine. This hormone is produced in pregnancy and for the first trimester, its level increases quickly.
The Most Likely Cause
If you see cloudy urine in your first trimester, mention it to your doctor. They may want to rule out other causes, but, breathe easy, it could be as harmless as pregnancy hormones.
Might You Need More Hydration?
If you aren’t drinking enough water, you may notice cloudy urine. In addition to cloudiness, your pee will also be darker in color.
If you notice both cloudiness and a dark color when trying to judge how healthy your urine looks, drink a big glass of water. Then check later in the day if it has improved things.
Could You Have a UTI?
Urinary tract infections are a common problem for women, even when they are pregnant. In fact, you’re more likely to get them during pregnancy. You’ll have a higher chance of getting one between weeks 6 through 24 of your pregnancy because your growing uterus can stop you from fully emptying your bladder.
If you suspect a UTI, get into your doctor’s office for an examination as soon as possible. They’ll test your urine and if you do have a UTI, give you a course of antibiotics.
Too Much Protein in Your Urine?
Another cause of cloudy urine is too much protein in it. Women in later stages of pregnancy, anywhere from four to nine months, are at extra risk of having this happen.
Sometimes, excess protein in your urine can signal preeclampsia, which is a dangerous condition for you and your baby. It can cause severe consequences like kidney damage and elevated blood pressure, and even be life-threatening (source).
Your doctor will keep close tabs on you if you have too much protein in your urine, to ensure you aren’t developing preeclampsia. If you’re concerned your cloudy-looking urine could be preeclampsia, look for other signs you can discuss with your doctor.
One sign is swelling in your hands, face or feet. Another common sign is excessive weight gain in one week — it could be more than four pounds. The sudden weight gain is usually caused by all the fluid your body is retaining.
Protein in the urine also causes bubbly urine so if you see bubbles and cloudiness, see your doctor to find out if there is protein in the urine.
Editor's Note:Christine Traxler, MD, BS
Pregnant women are often at the mercy of their food cravings. When I was pregnant, I wanted chocolate and french fries all the time. I didn’t let myself eat them at every meal, although I would have liked to if my doctor wasn’t watching my weight.
Sometimes, you get on a kick with a certain food and want to eat nothing else for a day or two straight.
Keep In Mind
If you think your cloudy urine could be caused by your diet, try eating healthy consistently and see if it goes away.
Could You Have Gonorrhea?
You might not want to think about this one, but pregnancy doesn’t make you immune to sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea is one of those diseases and it can make your urine cloudy.
Unfortunately, this disease is on the rise in the U.S. with over 470,000 million people being diagnosed in 2016 (source).
Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics, but if you don’t see the doctor when you have a suspected case, it can cause serious consequences for you and your baby. Signs you may be fighting gonorrhea include painful urination and a lot of vaginal discharge.
Could Vitamin Overload Be To Blame?
Extra vitamins are a good thing during pregnancy because you and your baby can benefit from them. No wonder doctors are militant about having women take their prenatal vitamins.
But sometimes those vitamins can give you cloudy urine. The two biggest culprits are vitamins B and C.
How Quickly Should I Act?
Rather Safe Than Sorry
Some moms-to-be don’t like to call their doctors when they’re worried about something because they’re afraid to feel ridiculous for calling in if it turns out to be nothing. They may also worry about missing one more half-day at work to attend yet another doctor’s appointment.
I used to feel the same way, but I had to remind myself I was now responsible for two people constantly; I couldn’t dismiss any concerns.
So, if you notice cloudy urine, call the doctor and let them sort it out for you.
Keeping It Together
It can be hard to keep your composure when you notice concerning changes, like cloudy urine. But you’ve made it this far and if you pay close attention to the signs from your body, you’ll be fine.
Cloudy urine is common among pregnant women and can be due to a variety of reasons. Some of these, like pregnancy hormones, diet changes, and dehydration are fairly harmless and can be rectified at home. Others still like gonorrhea, a UTI, or too much protein may require a visit to your doctor.
Watch out for other symptoms like pain or burning during urination, swelling of the face or limbs, and excessive vaginal discharge. Never be afraid to call your doctor if you feel concerned about the state of your urine. It is after all, a crystal ball for your pregnancy health.
Times are bound to get hard — most pregnancies can test your resolve and strength. When that happens, remember you’re in the home stretch. It won’t be long before you are holding your beautiful baby and all your struggles will have been worth it.
Have you ever had cloudy urine during your pregnancy? What did you do about it? We’d love to hear all about it! Don’t forget to share this post with any mamas-to-be stuck staring into the toilet bowl!