Causes of changes in urine during pregnancy

Causes des modifications des urines pendant la grossesse

Urine color changes during pregnancy occur for different reasons. What are the causes? etc…

Causes of changes in urine during pregnancy

Last update : June 23, 2023

Have you noticed that since the beginning of your pregnancy your urine has become darker? This is normal, since the transformation that your body undergoes at this stage goes beyond belly growth. All systems adapt to this process, including the urinary system, which is manifested by changes in the color of urine.

It is important to emphasize the role of pregnancy hormones in all pregnancy changes. These chemical messengers travel through the bloodstream to all the organs of the mother, in order to create harmony between her body and that of the baby.

Today we are going to tell you what’s going on with the kidneys at this point in your life. So you know what to expect.

Changes in urine during pregnancy

Urine is the waste liquid that is produced in the kidneys after a blood filtering process. This liquid can acquire new qualities, as a result of the physiological changes of pregnancy.

The circulatory system is one of the first to change its functioning after conception. Since it is essential to maintain the oxygenation of the fetal tissues, without neglecting those of the mother. For that, the mother’s total blood volume increases by about one and a half liters.

As a result, blood flow to the kidneys increases up to 75% more. Especially during the second trimester of pregnancy. This causes an increase in the renal filtration rate. This can lead to dilation of the exit ducts of the organ (such as the renal pelvis).

All these changes end up change both the color of urine and the frequency of its elimination. Let’s see these points in detail.

woman in bathroom toilet paper pain in lower abdomen

Frequency of urination

As mentioned, circulatory changes justify theconsiderable increase in the frequency of urination. This is known as frequency and is also influenced by the pressure of the uterus on the bladder.

Nocturia, meanwhile, is the increase in the number of urinations during the night, which becomes more frequent around the third trimester. This mainly happens due to increased water retention.

Changes in urine color during pregnancy

Normal urine is yellow in color. But during pregnancy, it may be a little lighter or darker than usual. Here are some possible key changes:

  • Pale yellow : it is the usual color of pregnant women when they are well hydrated and urinate frequently. This color is acquired because the urine is not very concentrated due to the high frequency of urination.
  • Dark yellow : when there is a low fluid intake or certain foods are ingested, the urine may become darker and even take on a light brown hue.
  • Red : This color is not normal and may indicate a health problem, such as a urinary tract infection. In the presence of such a clinical sign, the specialist will indicate a urine analysis to arrive at the diagnosis of the condition and treat it.

What factors influence this color change?

We have already highlighted all the circulatory and renal changes that justify an expected change in urine color. Now, we are going to share some other factors that can also change this property that you need to control.

  • Dehydration: during the first trimester, nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration due to increased fluid loss. If the kidney does not detect a sufficient quantity of body water, it produces urine much more concentrated in solutes (urea, uric acid, ammonia, creatinine). If this situation is not corrected, other more serious problems may arise.
  • Prenatal vitamin supplements: Certain vitamins or minerals (like iron) can influence the color of your urine, as can certain types of food (like beets). These changes are transient and disappear when the dose is stopped.
  • Frequency of urination: as we said, the higher the frequency, the greater the clarity due to the low concentration in the kidney. In addition, this variable is conditioned by the quantity of liquids consumed by the pregnant woman during the day.
urine bottles for biochemical examination chemistry urinalysis laboratory colors concentration

When does urine color during pregnancy suggest an emergency?

During pregnancy, it is important to assess all aspects of the body, including the appearance of urine. This allows early detection of probable signs of the disease.

If the urine turns red or reddish it is because it contains blood and this is called hematuria. Generally, it’s a symptom of urinary tract infection. Especially if it is accompanied by pain and burning when urinating, fever, dark smelling urine. If not treated quickly, the septic focus can progress and lead to major pregnancy complications.

In addition to red, if the urine turns dark brown, it is important to seek specialist evaluation. This is because although brownish tones can be caused by hormonal changes, they can also signal a problem with the liver.

Finally, the appearance of urine during pregnancy can change from from a yellow color in different shades to a light brown. First, if you notice the color of your urine darkening, increase your daily fluid intake. If this persists or is accompanied by other troublesome symptoms, consult your specialist.

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