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What Cloudy Urine During Pregnancy Means

Medically Reviewed by Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM
Updated
Should you be worried about your cloudy urine?

Has your urine has become cloudy lately? Should you be worried about your unborn baby?

When pregnant, most of us watch our bodies for any unusual changes, so cloudy urine during pregnancy can be enough to freak out an expectant mom.

Having experienced this ourselves, we decided to dive into the facts to determine if cloudy urine is a concern or just a normal part of a healthy pregnancy. What we found was encouraging. We’re sharing our findings here, so you can have one less thing to worry about during your pregnancy.


Is Cloudy Urine in Pregnancy Common?

You’re not alone in your worries about cloudy urine during pregnancy — it’s a common concern for pregnant women. As several factors can cause cloudy urine, especially during pregnancy, most pregnant women experience it at one time or another.

Causes of Cloudy Urine During Pregnancy

Out of the many causes of cloudy urine during pregnancy, most aren’t a reason for alarm. But some may 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.

Let’s look at some of the potential causes of your problem.

Pregnancy Hormones

When you first suspected you were pregnant, you likely peed on a pregnancy test stick to find out for sure. Those tests measure the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) levels in your urine. This hormone is produced in pregnancy, and for the first trimester, its level increases quickly.

The Most Likely Cause

When you pee, the additional hormones in your body may make your urine appear cloudy. These hormones are harmless, and the cloudy effect should pass by the time your second trimester rolls around.

If you see cloudy urine during the first trimester of your pregnancy, mention it to your health practitioner at your next prenatal appointment. They may want to rule out other causes, but breathe easy; it could be as harmless as pregnancy hormones.

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.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are a common problem for women, especially during pregnancy. You’ll have a higher chance of getting one between weeks 6 and 24 of your pregnancy because your growing uterus can stop you from fully emptying your bladder.

If you have pain or burning while peeing or feel like you have to pee more frequently, you can suspect a UTI. Other symptoms may include chills, fever, or cramping in the low abdomen (1).

If you suspect a UTI, get into your OB’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 protein — especially during the later stages of pregnancy, anywhere from four to nine months.

Sometimes, excess protein in your urine can signal preeclampsia, a dangerous condition for you and your baby. It can cause severe consequences like kidney damage and elevated blood pressure, and it can even be life-threatening (2).

If you are leaving a urine sample at each OB appointment, your OB provider is likely checking your urine for protein. They 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 symptoms and discuss with your doctor.

One sign is swelling in your hands, face, or feet. Another common sign is sudden excessive weight gain. The sudden weight gain is usually caused by your body retaining extra fluid.

Take Note

Protein in the urine also causes bubbly urine, so if you see bubbles and cloudiness, see your doctor or midwife.

Diet Changes

Pregnant women are often at the mercy of their food cravings. When I was pregnant, I wanted chocolate and french fries all the time, but I didn’t let myself eat them at every meal, although I would have liked to.

Sometimes, you crave a certain food and want to eat nothing else for a day or two straight.

Keep In Mind

If you make an abrupt change to your diet, you might be setting the stage for cloudy urine. Certain foods, like asparagus and dairy products, may make the matter worse.

If you think your diet could be causing your cloudy urine, try eating healthy consistently, and see if it goes away.

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 that can make your urine cloudy.

Unfortunately, this disease is on the rise in the U.S., with over 580,000 million people diagnosed in 2019 (3).

Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics, but if you don’t seek treatment 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. Unfortunately, gonorrhea and other STDs can have no symptoms at all. Make sure you get regular prenatal care and vocalize any concerns about unsafe sex to your OB provider.

Vitamin Overload

Both you and your baby can benefit from prenatal vitamins and other supplements during pregnancy.

Usually, those vitamins give you neon yellow urine, but it’s also possible they could make your urine appear cloudy. The two biggest culprits are vitamin C and vitamin B.

How Quickly Should I Act?

Better Safe Than Sorry

Pregnancies can quickly take a turn for the worse, seemingly out of nowhere, particularly in the case of preeclampsia. For that reason, it’s always best to put all your cards on the table with your doctor right away.

Some moms-to-be don’t like to call when they’re worried about something because they’re afraid to feel ridiculous if it turns out to be nothing. They may also worry about missing more time at work to attend yet another pregnancy appointment.

I used to feel the same way, but I had to remind myself I was now responsible for two people; I couldn’t dismiss any concerns.

So, if you’re concerned about cloudy urine, call your medical practitioner, 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 your body’s signs, you’ll be fine.

Cloudy urine is common during pregnancy and can be the result of a variety of things. Some of these, like pregnancy hormones, diet changes, and dehydration, are fairly harmless and can be rectified at home. Others, 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, sudden excessive weight gain, 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. After all, it can be a crystal ball for your pregnancy health.

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Headshot of Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Medically Reviewed by

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, clinical instructor and educator. She has ten years of nursing experience and enjoys blogging about family travel and autism in her free time.