Cloudy Urine in Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

If you’re pregnant, you may have noticed your wee looks a bit different nowadays. Seeing cloudy or milky urine when pregnant is pretty common, so don’t worry if your pee occasionally has a murky appearance. In this Zoom Baby blog post we look at the causes of cloudy urine during pregnancy, what you should do about it and when you should go and see your GP.

What causes cloudy urine in pregnancy?

Cloudy urine describes any wee that’s not clear. It often appears milky or murky and can also look white to light yellow rather than its normal straw-yellow colour, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Here are some common reasons for cloudy urine when pregnant:

  • Dehydration: Not drinking enough fluids can cause your wee to become more concentrated, making it look darker. This is common in early pregnancy due to nausea, vomiting, and hormone changes affecting discharge. Summer heat and sweat loss can also lead to dehydration.
  • Vaginal discharge: You may notice more discharge during pregnancy than normal as your body protects itself and baby from infections. This discharge can make your wee look cloudy when it mixes in the toilet.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): A UTI in pregnancy could also cause cloudy urine. UTIs produce bacteria and red blood cells in urine, giving that murky appearance. Other UTI symptoms include frequency, urgency, and pain with peeing.
  • Preeclampsia: Higher protein levels in urine from preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication involving high blood pressure, could cause cloudy wee later in pregnancy or around your due date.
  • Diet: A diet very high in fruits and vegetables or low in meat, grains and cheese can increase urine cloudiness.

What to do about cloudy urine when pregnant

How to treat cloudy urine depends on the cause. It’s best to contact your provider, who can test your urine’s clarity, colour, protein and bacteria. If they suspect infection, they’ll send a urine culture to determine treatment.

In most cases, cloudy wee when pregnant is harmless and likely due to poor hydration, discharge or diet. Drink plenty of fluids to help improve it.

However, persistently cloudy urine or additional symptoms like fever, pain, bleeding or abnormal discharge warrant seeing your doctor. Don’t stress – simply contact your provider if you have any new symptoms.

Monitoring your pee when pregnant

When you’re expecting, it’s a good idea to monitor the colour and clarity of your urine regularly. This can help spot potential issues like dehydration or infection early. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Colour: Pale or light yellow wee means you’re well hydrated. Dark yellow, amber or orange urine often signals dehydration and Concentrated urine.
  • Clarity: Clear to pale yellow wee is normal. Cloudy, foamy or milky urine could indicate an issue like infection.
  • Odour: Pee is normally mild smelling, but a foul, strong or odd odour might indicate infection or dehydration.
  • Amount: Need to pee frequently or only pass small amounts? This can occur with a UTI.
  • Discomfort: Pain or burning when you pee is not normal and may signal a UTI or other condition requiring treatment.
  • Consistency: Weepy or watery urine is expected, while thick, syrupy or jelly-like wee could indicate infection or dehydration.

Tracking these signs and promptly reporting concerns to your provider is important, as some conditions like UTIs can impact your pregnancy if left untreated.

Lifestyle changes for healthy pee

Along with monitoring your wee, there are some lifestyle tweaks you can make to help maintain normal urine and optimal pregnancy health:

  • Drink plenty of fluids daily – water is best. Aim for at least 8 to 12 glasses per day.
  • Eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy. Limit sweets and salty foods.
  • Take prenatal vitamins with folate as directed by your doctor.
  • Do kegel exercises regularly to strengthen pelvic muscles and prevent incontinence.
  • Urinate as soon as you feel the urge and always wipe front to back after using the toilet.
  • Avoid potential irritants like deodorant soaps, douches, and fragranced toilet paper.
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear and avoid overly tight trousers or tights.
  • Get regular moderate exercise like walking, swimming or yoga.

Making healthy lifestyle choices during pregnancy can reduce issues like dehydration, UTIs and preeclampsia – all potential causes of cloudy urine. Be sure to discuss major diet or exercise changes with your provider first though.

When to see your doctor

While occasional cloudy urine is generally harmless, do contact your doctor or midwife if you notice:

  • Cloudy urine multiple times in a week
  • Persistent foul-smelling or oddly coloured urine
  • Pain, stinging or burning when peeing
  • Need to urinate more often than usual
  • Blood or pus in your urine
  • Nausea, vomiting, fever or back pain along with cloudy urine
  • Significantly darker urine and fewer wet nappies than normal

These signs could indicate a UTI, kidney infection or other problem requiring prompt medical care. Catching issues early in pregnancy makes them easier to treat. Speak to your provider right away if your wee seems consistently abnormal.

While passing the odd cloudy or murky urine is usually nothing to worry about in pregnancy, unusual changes to your pee or additional symptoms should be evaluated quickly. Contact your doctor or midwife anytime you have concerns about your urine or pregnancy health.

Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash

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