Pee color during pregnancy

Contents

6 Things That Can Cause Clear Pee, Cloudy Pee, Red Pee, or Bright Orange Pee

You know that you’ve had your share of water/beer/coffee by how often you need to use the bathroom. But what else can pee tell you about your health and habits? A lot, it turns out. We asked R. Mark Ellerkmann, M.D., director for the Center of Urogynecology at the Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine in Baltimore, for some of the specific health and lifestyle issues your urine’s odor, color, and frequency can indicate.

1. You’re pregnant.

The reason you have to pee on a stick after your first missed period is that shortly after conception (when a fertilized egg implants into the lining of the uterus), the fetus begins to secrete the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, which is what is detected by home pregnancy tests, Dr. Ellerkmann says. Some women also notice a strong, pungent odor early on, even before they’re aware they’re pregnant.

Once you’ve got a baby on board, running to the bathroom constantly is just one of the pesky parts of pregnancy, for a variety of reasons: Your kidneys have to work harder to eliminate waste products from both you and the fetus, and as you (and the baby) get bigger, pressure on your bladder from your expanding uterus can send you to the ladies’ morning, noon, and, annoyingly, in the middle of the night.

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2. You have an injury or a medical condition.

Medically speaking, if there are red blood cells in your urine-known as “hematuria”-this could indicate a variety of conditions, according to Dr. Ellkermann, from kidney stones to an impact injury (in rare cases this can be caused by strenuous exercise like running long distances). A sweet odor can be indicative of diabetes, since your body isn’t properly processing glucose. If you’re over 35 and have erratic or heavy periods and an increase in urine frequency, you may have fibroids, benign uterine tumors that can press on your bladder (depending on their size, which can range from that of an olive to a grapefruit). If you see blood, smell any usual odor, or have any other concerns, see your doctor.

3. You’re a big fan of blackberries.

Crazy for carrots? Bananas for beets? Certain fruits and vegetables that have dark pigments (like the anthocyanin that gives beets and blackberries their deep red color) can tint urine either pink, in the case of red or purple produce, or orange if you’re eating foods rich in carotene like carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. If you’re on a produce kick or just a really big fan of borscht, a change in urine color is nothing to be alarmed about. Just take note if it stays the same after you’ve given the farmers’ market a rest. (Vitamins can have a similar effect, particularly vitamin C, as well as certain medications.) And of course there is the notorious asparagus pee odor, caused by a harmless compound the veggie contains.

4. You have a UTI.

Yes, that awful burning feeling is a pretty good indication you’ve got a dreaded urinary tract infection, but frequency (more than seven times a day, according to Dr. Ellkerman) is also a sign it’s time to call your doc. Other symptoms of a UTI can include fever, chills, pelvic/lower-back pain, and, occasionally, the presence of red blood cells can tinge urine pink, while white blood cells that are rushing to fight your infection can turn urine cloudy or cause an unpleasant odor. If you experience any of these symptoms, you likely need antibiotics to clear up the infection; your doctor can detect the presence of a UTI with a urine sample. If you’re tempted to swill some Ocean Spray instead, don’t bother-unless you really like it. Cranberry juice won’t help after the fact, but may prevent a UTI by making it difficult for bacteria to adhere to the bladder wall.

5. Your kitchen is stocked with wine, chocolate, coffee, or hot sauce.

And it should be, as all of those things are either necessary, delicious, or both. Unfortunately, if you have stress incontinence, they can also make it worse. While this isn’t terribly common in woman under 40 (though it can occur if you’ve had a baby or gynecological surgery), coffee, alcohol, sugar, and spicy foods can irritate bladder walls and aggravate the condition.

RELATED: 7 Foods with Bizarre Side Effects

6. You’re dehydrated.

You may have heard that urine color-specifically dark yellow-can indicate dehydration, and this is indeed the case. When you’re properly hydrated, pee should be clear or just vaguely straw colored (the color in urine is caused by a pigment called urichrome, which gets lighter and darker depending on how concentrated urine becomes). A strong urinary odor, also due to concentration, is a sign of dehydration as well. And yes, you do need the recommended eight cups of fluid per day, but you don’t have to guzzle water to get it. Fruits and veggies contain water; if you’re loading up on those, it contributes to your daily eight-cup goal. But hydration is also about self-regulation. If you’re exercising, you need more fluid (though only if you’re training for a marathon or doing some other sort of very intense and long-duration activity do you need a sports drink). So be aware of your body’s needs; fatigue and irritability can indicate dehydration as well.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Drinking Water Helps Solve Any Problem

Frequent Urination During Pregnancy

Frequent urination is one of the most common symptoms that pregnant women experience. It is certainly a symptom no woman enjoys, especially when it disrupts your sleep during the middle of the night or when you are out traveling. These symptoms generally start early in the first trimester (around week 5), may get better in the second trimester, but then become particularly worse late in third trimester.1

When you’re not pregnant, your bladder can hold up to a pint of urine.2 During the first trimester of pregnancy, your uterus enlarges and begins to push on your bladder. A compressed bladder holds much less urine. In addition, hormonal changes during pregnancy cause blood to flow more quickly through your kidneys, thus producing more urine. As a result, you may find yourself running to the bathroom more often than usual. In the second trimester, the uterus expands upward into the abdominal cavity and tends to put less pressure on your bladder.3 Then, in the last few weeks of third trimester, the baby flips over, dropping his head down into the pelvis and right on top of your bladder. Frequent urination almost always goes away after you give birth.4

Although frequent urination during pregnancy can be one of the annoying pregnancy symptoms, it does nothing to harm you or your unborn baby. It fact it helps to clean out the toxins from your body in a quick and efficient manner. As long as frequency isn’t accompanied by signs of infection, it’s completely normal.1

There are some cases however when frequent urination may signal an underlying problem. If you’re also experiencing burning, pain, fever, or a change in the odor or color of your urine, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).4 UTIs are quite common during pregnancy. If left untreated, they can develop into serious kidney infections. A kidney infection during pregnancy may contribute to preterm labor or your water breaking too early (“premature rupture of the membranes”). It is important that you contact your care provider as soon as possible if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection. Fortunately, most UTIs can be cleared up easily with antibiotics in a few short days.2

There are some things that you can do to make your trips to the bathroom a little less frequent if you wish: 1) Avoid drinks that have a diuretic effect such as tea and coffee. 2) If you are having trouble with going to the bathroom during the night, then avoid drinking anything a few hours before bedtime so that you don’t have to get up as often during the night.4 Just to be safe, use night-lights to keep you from stumbling during your nocturnal trips. 3) When using the bathroom, lean forward when you urinate to empty your bladder completely.4 If you are not able to empty your bladder fully, it will feel full a lot sooner. This is more common in the later stages of pregnancy.

Although you should drink less before your bedtime to avoid frequent visits to the bathroom during the night, you should be certain to drink plenty of fluid to keep hydrated during pregnancy (at least eight glasses a day).1 Insufficient fluids could cause you to feel light-headed and it could also lead to a urinary tract infection.2

Furthermore, during the last month of pregnancy, some women begin to leak a little urine when they cough, sneeze, laugh, or move suddenly. This is called “stress incontinence” and is perfectly normal. The growing uterus, putting pressure on the bladder, creates this condition. Practice your Kegel exercises regularly to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and to support the urinary sphincter. Remember to empty your bladder before exercising and to wear a light pad to help catch any leaking.5

Lylla Ngo, M.D.

Thomas Hale, Ph.D

1. Murkoff HE, Eisenberg A, Hathaway SE. What to expect when you’re expecting. Rev. and updated. ed. London: Pocket Books; 2002.

2. Riley L. You & your baby pregnancy : your ultimate week-by-week pregnancy guide. 2nd ed. ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley; 2012.

3. Blott M. The day-by-day pregnancy book. London: Dorling Kindersley; 2009.

4. Harms RW, Wick M, Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy. 1st ed. Intercourse, PA: Good Books; 2011.

How Does Your Urine Change When You’re Pregnant?

Pregnancy and an Increased Risk of Urinary Tract Infections

Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of urinary tract infections; up to 10 percent of women will develop at least one UTI throughout the course of her pregnancy. (7) UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the bladder, ureters, or the kidneys. Because muscle-relaxing hormones increase during pregnancy, bacteria have an easier time entering the urinary tract. Women who have a history of UTIs, have diabetes, have previously had children, or are overweight may also be at increased risk. (8)

Signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) often include smelly urine, cloudy urine, and blood in urine. You may also experience UTI symptoms such as back pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, and chills if the infection has spread to the kidneys. (8)

Urinary tract infections should be taken seriously in pregnancy because they can severely affect your health and your baby’s health, and put you at risk for preterm delivery. To diagnose a UTI, your doctor may perform a urinalysis to detect the presence of bacteria, as well as test for white and red blood cells. UTIs are typically treated with a round of antibiotics, and sometimes more serious kidney infections must be treated with intravenous medication at a hospital. (8)

Pregnant women can also prevent UTIs or speed their recovery by drinking plenty of fluids, emptying their bladder before and after sex, keeping the vaginal area clean, and emptying their bladder thoroughly while urinating. Wearing cotton underwear, avoiding tight pants or leggings, avoiding bubble baths, and wiping front to back after bowel movements can also prevent UTIs. (9)

Pregnancy and Group B Strep Disease

Sometimes a urinary tract infection can be a sign that a woman has group B streptococcus (GBS), a bacterium that often lives in the intestines or lower genital tract. Though GBS is less likely to cause infections in adults, it can spread to infants during delivery and cause group B strep disease in newborns.

Sometimes GBS has an early onset, with newborns experiencing symptoms like fever, lethargy, and difficulty feeding within a week after birth. Or the newborn can develop late-onset symptoms of group B strep disease within a few weeks or months after birth. (10)

Pregnant women are tested for GBS in late pregnancy, typically between weeks 35 and 37, via a vaginal and rectal swab. If a woman tests positive, the antibiotic penicillin is given to her during labor to prevent early-onset GBS infection in newborns. (11)

The Importance of Urine Testing During Pregnancy

Your healthcare provider will conduct a urinalysis at your first prenatal appointment and then several times throughout your pregnancy. Testing may be done to monitor for bladder or kidney infections, dehydration, and diabetes. (12)

High protein levels in your urine may indicate that you have a urinary tract infection or more serious kidney disease. Your healthcare provider may also screen for high levels of proteins and sugars in your urine to test for preeclampsia, a condition marked by high blood pressure that can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Additional signs of preeclampsia might include swelling of the hands and face. (12)

Large amounts of sugar in the urine may indicate gestational diabetes, which typically develops in the second trimester. Additional signs of gestational diabetes may include fatigue, excessive thirst, and weight loss. (13)

The level of ketones in urine may also be evaluated during pregnancy. Ketones are chemicals produced by the liver when the body lacks sufficient energy to convert sugar into energy. If you have a high level of ketones in your urine when pregnant, you may not be getting sufficient nutrition or may be experiencing dehydration. (12)

  • under antibiotic

    By Anne (not verified) on 16 Dec 2019 – 16:29

    iam 7weeks 3day ihave been having brownish thing went for ultrasound it came out the baby is fiwne bt ihave infection,iwas given antibiotics,and am still under them,do u think it will clear, am worried it doesnt affect the baby while am takng medicine

    • reply
  • Doubt whether pregnant or not

    By Shreya (not verified) on 3 Dec 2019 – 16:17

    I dont know.. It never happened before.. Every 30-35 I get an urge to pee.and it’s uncontrollable.. Whenever I pee I get burning sensation and a bit pain near urinary tract… What should I do ? Whether I m pregnant or not?

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  • Back pain even after I empty my bladder.

    By Jojo (not verified) on 13 Sep 2019 – 12:43

    Hi I’m Josey and I’m 27 weeks pregnant. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with extreme pressure on my lower back and below my ribs. It normally feels better after urinating but the past few days the pressure isn’t going away and I feel very sore and uncomfortable. I have no blood in my urine and it isn’t foggy, it also doesn’t burn to urinate so I don’t think it’s a UTI. This is my first pregnancy and I don’t know what is or isn’t normal please help.

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  • Hi I’m 4months pregnant but I

    By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Aug 2019 – 11:28

    Hi I’m 4months pregnant but I have a burning urine for 2 months plz help

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  • I’m 4 weeks pregnant

    By Meli (not verified) on 7 Jul 2019 – 01:22

    I feel a burning sensation when pee. It just started today, I feel I have to pee every 5 minutes. Please help

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  • 5 weeks pregnant and just noticed Black specks in urine

    By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Jun 2019 – 15:11

    I am 5 weeks pregnant and for the first time today I have notice that I have black specks in my urine. I have no pain and nothing else abnormal. I haven’t seen a gp as it Can take two weeks to get an appointment, I self referred but am waiting for my booking appointment. Should I book an emergency appointment to see the gp?

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  • 23 weeks

    By Lola (not verified) on 4 Jun 2019 – 20:33

    I have epilepsy and 23 weeks pregnant. I had my scan at 20 weeks I warned the sonographer I felt like baby was down. which they said was and named on my green notes “deep cephalic position” I know baby is still head down as movement are left side and above vagina. I have the urge to wee every 10 minutes everytime baby moves I feel it in the canal which which the last few hours Is accompanied with like a scratch? I am also today extremely run down and fever.
    Can you help? (Second baby)

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  • UTI

    By Sophie Thuli (not verified) on 24 May 2019 – 17:28

    Hi
    I am 39 weeks pregnant diagnosed with UTI and I got treatment from my clinic but no change. I am experiencing severe pain in my back and abdominal.. Please help me.. M sacred it might affect my baby

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  • I’m 3month pregnant and I’m

    By Tolu (not verified) on 23 May 2019 – 19:06

    I’m 3month pregnant and I’m having pain my stomach each time I wee and I noticed it yesterday

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  • am i still pregnant

    By (not verified) on 20 May 2019 – 18:55

    i have a burn when unirating and now i am seing blood like measuration. am i still pregnant

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  • Hi I’m not sure if I’m

    By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 May 2019 – 03:30

    Hi I’m not sure if I’m pregnant yet, too soon to find out but I’m getting really bad cramp in the lower of my stomach to the point where I cry and every time I try to lay down it hurts more and I run to the bathroom cuz it feels like I have to poo and I do but it won’t come out and when it does it hurts really bad! Idk what to do I’m scared to go to the doctors

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  • Painful pee

    By Tina (not verified) on 13 May 2019 – 15:56

    I am 19weeks pregnant, noticed for 2days now, when I go pee I feel this pain on my lower abdomen towards end of the pee, no burning sensation no itching, no blood and I pee normal quantity pee

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  • Me too!! I have the exact

    By Daniella (not verified) on 27 Jun 2019 – 04:29

    Me too!! I have the exact same thing at 19 weeks. Did you end up figuring out what this was?

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  • Me too! Has any of you found

    By Nailah (not verified) on 5 Aug 2019 – 12:32

    Me too! Has any of you found out what it was?

    • reply
  • Problem of pee

    By Aloka Biswas (not verified) on 3 May 2019 – 11:03

    Hy,when i go to pee then very pain and 8 to 10 time pee per hour. Please tell me what to i do and what is the medicine i used.

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  • UTi

    By Amna (not verified) on 28 Apr 2019 – 11:09

    Hi I am Amna, I am 6th week pregnant , there was dark brown clot when I urinite .Dr diagnosed me UTI..now I am feeling lower abdomen heaviness(like periods are about to come ) pain in back …cold hand feet .is it OK? Dr did not suggest me for Scan

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  • Painful full blatter

    By Katelyn (not verified) on 21 Apr 2019 – 03:59

    Hello im 11 weeks pregnant and I find when my bladder is full in the middle of the night I have sever pains as I walk to the bathroom when I first sit down to pass my urine when my bladder is full its very painful have looked into this no signs of UTI OBGYN says but I do not understand why at this time its so painful only when I have a full bladder. It’s not all the time only during the night.. Had sonograms everything looks fine with baby. Just wondering if this is a normal thing???? Has anyone experienced this it’s my first pregnancy. Looking for answers please.. thanks

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  • Painful full bladder

    By Sarah (not verified) on 30 Jun 2019 – 15:06

    This is my second baby and with both anytime my bladder was too full I catch lower stomach pains. Back pains. Idk what it is but after I pee it’s all better. Ima assume its pressure because my OB has no idea either. He says it’s normal actually. A full bladder makes an uncomfortable home for baby.

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  • Im 32 weeks and im having the

    By Annonymous (not verified) on 21 Jul 2019 – 13:21

    Im 32 weeks and im having the same problem! Lower abdom hurts like cramps with full bladder and i feel much better after i pee.

    • reply
  • I’m 6 weeks pregnant and am

    By Ayoola (not verified) on 6 Apr 2019 – 07:15

    I’m 6 weeks pregnant and am always having this stomach pain that makes me feel tired and dizzy then this frequent urination pls what’s the problem

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  • Hi i’m sky when i unrin im

    By Painfull urination (not verified) on 27 Mar 2019 – 20:47

    Hi i’m sky when i unrin im feeling pain and a smelly fishy unrin smell i dont know if im pregnant

    • reply
  • Hy I think it’s 4weeks

    By Pumza (not verified) on 17 Mar 2019 – 18:25

    Hy I think it’s 4weeks pregnancy, problem is can’t eat vomiting all. The time loosing energy and burning when urinating realy I’m stressed

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  • Hy i think its 4weeks

    By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2019 – 11:29

    Hi Pumza. It sounds like you have a urinary tract infection if you have burning when urinating- you need to go to your GP to get your urine tested and for them to give you oral antibiotics to treat it. Please do this urgently. Whilst you are there, you can discuss the vomiting too. Take care, Tommy’s Midwife

    • reply
  • I thinks it’s 4weeks

    By Jenny (not verified) on 1 May 2019 – 05:48

    Hey Pumza, i think you’re having a Urinary Track Infection (UTI). I also had in my 4th week.
    Go check with your Dr. right away, to get it treated.

    • reply
  • painful urination at six weeks pregnancy

    By aobo (not verified) on 16 Mar 2019 – 01:26

    Pls I have this very painful feeling when I pee,recently, I discovered blood with some tiny particles
    Pls,what can I take?
    I am 5weeks pregnant

    • reply
  • painful urination at six weeks pregnancy

    By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2019 – 11:27

    Hi Aobo
    It sounds like you have a urinary tract infection- you need to go to your GP to get your urine tested and for them to give you oral antibiotics to treat it. Please do this urgently. Take care, Tommy’s Midwife

    • reply
  • My wife is 14 week pain urinating and painful under the stomach

    By Lloyed (not verified) on 5 Mar 2019 – 21:43

    Hi my wife is 14 weeks pregnant and she is having pain urinating and painful under the stomach nd is been 2 days ,, please help

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  • Hi – Thank you for your

    By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 – 12:17

    Hi – Thank you for your message.
    It sounds like your wife may have a UTI, which is likely to need oral antibiotics as treatment. She will need to get a dr’s appointment urgently to be seen and to have her urine tested for infection. Please do this urgently as untreated UTI’s can cause complication in pregnancy. Please take care, Tommy’s Midwife

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  • I am 39 weeks

    By Emma (not verified) on 18 Jun 2019 – 20:46

    I am 39 weeks pregnant and when I urinate there is brown in it ,, I’m also getting a lot of pressure and shooting pains up through my private I am booked in next Tuesday for c.section as baby is breech what could this be or is there a need to go hospital

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  • Pain in urination

    By Sheena (not verified) on 27 Feb 2019 – 11:07

    I feel like i need to go washroom but i when i do , i just get few drops of urine but there remains a feeling that it is still inside ,, i keep sitting for around 10 mins and then again only few drops come out and that too very painful … it is happening from last two days

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  • Pain in urination

    By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Feb 2019 – 14:10

    Hi Sheena
    It sounds like you have a UTI, which is likely to need oral antibiotics as treatment. You need to get a dr’s appointment urgently to be seen and to have your urine tested for infection. Please do this urgently as untreated UTI’s can cause complication in pregnancy. Please take care, Tommy’s Midwife

    • reply
  • I have same problem n m

    By Priyanka (not verified) on 21 Apr 2019 – 11:29

    I have same problem n m 3months pregnant

    • reply
  • Pain

    By Hanaan (not verified) on 15 Feb 2019 – 19:53

    Hi ,I am 6week and 2days pregnant but when I go to weee but I got right side pain what should I do ?

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Feb 2019 – 12:47

    Hi Hannah
    You need to go to your GP asap to get your urine tested – it sounds like a urinary tract infection and you might need antibiotics. Please be seen as soon as you can. Tommy’s Midwife.

    • reply
  • By Chelsey (not verified) on 13 Jan 2019 – 19:29

    Hi I have serve pain in my stomach to the point where I start crying cuz it’s painful I try. Going the toilet to see if that helps but it makes things worse I have been the hospital about it before and they didn’t seem very helpful?

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Jan 2019 – 10:33

    Hi Chelsey,
    How are you feeling? I am not sure how pregnant you are or whether you are having an issue peeing or if you are constipated?
    Please get back in touch if you are still having problems.
    You can email
    Anna-Tommy’s Midwife

    • reply
  • Sharp pain on my left abdomen

    By Hillary (not verified) on 1 Jan 2019 – 21:56

    I have a serious painful Sharp pain on my lower left abdomen,the pain is so sever that I am unable to walk properly,discomfort ,I can’t sleep even.

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2019 – 15:54

    Hi Hillary. If this is still ongoing, and you have not been seen by your midwife or doctor yet, then please go into be seen as soon as you can for review. Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy , needs urgent review. Please take good care of yourself. All the best, Tommy’s Midwife

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  • Painful urination during pregnancy

    By Ken (not verified) on 19 Dec 2018 – 21:11

    Hy,my name is Ken…my girlfriend is experiencing a very painful feeling when she pee,yellowish and smelly,sometimes her urine is redish ..looks like its mixed up with a bit blood..,unbearable pain on the womb..she’s 1 month pregnant.. please help

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Dec 2018 – 16:12

    Hi Ken, She should go to see her GP. She may have a urine infection (UTI) which should be treated if she is pregnant.

    • reply
  • Lower abdomen pain

    By Alisa (not verified) on 19 Nov 2018 – 17:04

    I have really big pain in my lower abdomen and each time I urine I have a stinging burning sensation and there is brown discharge coming out is this normal ?

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Nov 2018 – 14:41

    Please see your GP as soon as possible as it sounds as if you have a urinary tract infection. During pregnancy it is important to treat these infections with antibiotics. You should also drink plenty of water.
    Take good care of yourself

    • reply
  • 4-5 weeks pregnant

    By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Nov 2018 – 22:34

    Hello I’m about 4-5 weeks pregnant and I’m having a irritation and uncomfortable feeling around my vagina but are also experiencing some small bumps on the skin down below. Should I be worried?

    • reply
  • 4-5 weeks pregnant

    By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Nov 2018 – 11:09

    Hi,
    During pregnancy, it is common to experience some skin changes and irritation. It is also more common to experience vaginal thrush which is a possible cause to your irritation. If it continues then do speak with the GP for a review.
    Best wishes
    Tommy’s midwife

    • reply
  • painful urination

    By nisha (not verified) on 13 Oct 2018 – 18:35

    Every 5-10 mins I’m wanting to wee. And when I wee I’m having a slight pain in abdomen, and only a tiny tickle comes out which hurts me.. And I’m having constipation also..

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Oct 2018 – 16:46

    Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water to dilute your wee and see your doctor as soon as you are able. I assume you are pregnant and we treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics in pregnancy.

    • reply
  • Painful urination

    By Jasmine puca (not verified) on 3 Sep 2018 – 20:09

    Hi. Im weeing normal and im 24 weeks pregnant since 3 days ago i have pain on my bladder and when i am weeing i am having burning pains but no blood or anything has happened what shall i do?

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Sep 2018 – 16:49

    Hi You should go to see your doctor who may consider a course of anti-biotics if you have a Urinary tract infection (UTI). Try to drink plenty of clear fluids and make sure that your pee is not too concentrated. It may also be sensible to avoid intercourse until your symptoms have resolved. You can’t pass a UTI to your partner but it is likely to make sex uncomfortable or even painful.

    • reply
  • Can’t pee properly

    By Rebecca (not verified) on 11 Aug 2018 – 09:00

    I think I may have a UTI I’m getting to the point I’m bursting for a wee but only a tiny trickle comes out and it really hurts but I still feel I need a wee then 10mins or so later I try again and I end up having a full proper wee I’m 30weeks pregnant is this normal? Would I ring my doctor or maternity unit (today is Saturday)

    • reply
  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Aug 2018 – 16:52

    Hi Rebecca, I hope you are more comfortable now. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water so that your wee is well diluted. If you think you may have a UTI please see your doctor who will most likely take a urine sample for analysis. However, at 30 weeks this can happen if the baby is sitting on your bladder. This may be why you were able to empty properly after you walked around. Discuss with your midwife if it doesn’t improve. Take care

    • reply
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Last Updated on January 4, 2020



If you are pregnant, you must have noticed a change in the colour of your urine. When you look down in the toilet bowl after peeing, instead of seeing the usual light-yellow colour, you might see a darker shade of yellow. A change in the urine colour can be a sign of pregnancy as well as of some problems during pregnancy. This change can be from yellow to a brighter or darker shade of yellow and is governed by several factors.



Also Read: Is Cloudy Urine During Pregnancy a Cause of Concern?

Does the Colour of Urine Change During Pregnancy?

A healthy person’s urine colour can range from a very light, almost transparent yellow to a slightly darker shade of yellow. During pregnancy, however, this change can be more pronounced. It can range from an intense bright yellow to a darker, almost orange-yellow colour.




The colour of the urine is caused by the pigment urochrome, which is also known as urobilin. Urobilin is made when the body breaks down haemoglobin from dead red blood cells. The appearance of the pigment will depend on the consistency of your urine. If your urine is diluted (when you are hydrated), the pigment in your urine will be of a lighter shade. However, if your urine is in concentrated form, the pigment will have a darker shade.

Apart from this, there are a lot of factors which will decide the colour of your urine during pregnancy. There is a profound change in how kidneys filter water during pregnancy. Additionally, changes in the intake of food during pregnancy and the additional intake of vitamins and medicines prescribed can also bring about a change in the colour of urine.





Also Read: Smelly Urine During Pregnancy – Reasons and Remedies

Why Does the Colour of Urine Change During Pregnancy?

The factors that decide the colour of urine during pregnancy are mentioned below:




1. Pregnancy Diet

During pregnancy, your diet takes a 180-degree turn. You become more conscious of your eating habits. Your diet will include fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other healthy foods. Certain fruits and vegetables can bring about a change in the colour of your urine during pregnancy.

2. Vitamins and Other Medicines

Many pregnant women are advised to take prenatal vitamins and supplements during pregnancy. A woman’s body cannot break down the vitamins in their entirety. The absorbed vitamins and other supplemented nutrients are discarded from the body through urine, which could result in a darker shade of urine.





3. Dehydration

Intake of water also decides the colour of your urine during pregnancy. Many women experience the problem of dehydration during pregnancy even though if they are drinking more than enough water. Another cause of dehydration is a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterised by severe morning sickness, nausea, and weight loss. This condition causes severe morning sickness and is common in about one per cent of all pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum causes excess vomiting in pregnant women resulting in dehydration. In cases where there are no apparent signs of dehydration, dark urine could be a sign of liver complications. You should consult a doctor soon.

4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

An infection in the urinary tract can also bring about a change in the colour of your urine. A urinary tract infection (UTI) should not be taken lightly as it can have serious consequences like premature labour or underweight baby. Bright yellow-coloured urine, an increase in the frequency of urination, pain in the lower abdomen or blood in the urine are all signs of a urinary tract infection.




5. Hematuria

Hematuria is the presence of blood in the urine. The excess red blood cells need to be eliminated from the body; they are discarded by the body through urine and can result in very dark yellow or red-coloured urine.

6. Urinary Bladder Infections

A bladder infection is a type of UTI and is a bacterial infection. Pregnancy can result in an increased frequency of hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Such changes usually result in the enlargement of the urinary bladder, which weakens the bladder lining and makes it prone to infections. Bladder infections can result in a change in the colour of urine.





Also Read: Protein in Urine During Pregnancy

7. Kidney Diseases

Kidneys are the organs that filter and discard waste matter from the body. Any disorder in the kidneys can easily result in a change in the colour of urine.




8. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones interfere with normal kidney functions and can cause severe pain, nausea, and vomiting, and can result in a change in the colour of urine.

Also Read: Ketones in Urine During Pregnancy – Causes, Tests and Prevention




Urine Tests During Pregnancy

Conducting urine tests from time to time during pregnancy is crucial as it will reveal your health status. Urinalysis at different stages of pregnancy will help your doctor detect any possible condition that requires treatment. Tests will be done to monitor for bladder infections, kidney infections, diabetes, and even dehydration. High levels of protein in urine are a sign of urinary tract infection or kidney disease. Having high glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy could indicate to gestational diabetes, which generally develops in the second trimester of pregnancy. The presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, or bacteria could be a sign of UTI. Conducting urine tests during pregnancy is very important, so don’t skip them. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor if you experience any problem while urinating.

Also Read: Urine Leakage during Pregnancy – Is It Normal?




When to Visit a Doctor

Although a change in colour of urine could be a result of various harmless reasons, ranging from vitamin intake to dehydration, they can sometimes be caused by more severe conditions. A burning sensation while urinating could indicate a UTI. After an increase in the intake of water, if the colour of your urine is still dark, it could indicate liver and kidney malfunctions. If you notice that the colour of your urine is pale-yellow or dark, then you should consult a doctor.

Like many other bodily changes, a change in urine colour is common during pregnancy. You could have dark-coloured urine because of dehydration. It merely indicates that you should be drinking more water. If you notice a change in your urine colour, do not panic. Drink water and stay hydrated; however, if the problem persists, visit the doctor.


Also Read:

Urine Pregnancy Test – At Home and Clinic
Urine Test and Urine Culture during Pregnancy
Leukocytes in Urine during Pregnancy

Has your urine has become cloudy lately? Should you be worried about 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 (1).

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.

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.

Pregnancy Hormones?

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

When you pee, the hormones can come out and make your urine appear cloudy. It’s harmless and it will pass by the time your second trimester rolls around.

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 have pain or burning while peeing or feel like you have to pee more frequently, suspect a UTI. Other symptoms you may have include chills, fever, or cramping in the low abdomen (2).

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 too much protein in it. Women in later stages of pregnancy, anywhere from four to nine months, are at an increased 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 (3).

If you are leaving a urine 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 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.

Take Note

Protein in the urine also causes bubbly urine so if you see bubbles and cloudiness, see your doctor or midwife to find out if there is protein in the urine.

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. I didn’t let myself eat them at every meal, although I would have liked to if I 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 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.

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 (4).

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 are getting regular prenatal care and vocalizing any concerns about unsafe sex to your OB provider.

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 it is so important for women to take their prenatal vitamins.

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

How Quickly Should I Act?

Rather 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 one more half-day 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 constantly; I couldn’t dismiss any concerns.
So, if you notice cloudy urine, call the OB office 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.

Two of pregnancy’s more common complications are gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, both of which have markers that show up in your urine. That’s why at each and every prenatal visit, you’ll have to give your doctor a urine sample.

What the test looks for

A quick urinalysis at each visit gives your practitioner a heads-up if you potentially have a condition that requires treatment. Urine tests during pregnancy look for the following:

  • Diabetes: High levels of glucose (or sugar) in your urine may indicate pre-existing type 2 diabetes (if it hasn’t already been diagnosed) or, later on in pregnancy, gestational diabetes (GD or GDM) (which is also tested for with a glucose screening between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy)
  • Preeclampsia: Levels of protein in your urine early in pregnancy will be compared with levels later in pregnancy. High levels of protein can be a sign of preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
  • A urinary tract infection (UTI): Red or white blood cells or bacteria can be a sign of a UTI.

How it’s done

You provide the sample (so strategically time your drinking before each visit). A nurse or technician either uses a dipstick or puts a few drops of urine onto testing strips. A color change indicates a positive test.

If you test positive

If you test positive for glucose in your urine, try not to stress: Many women do at some point during pregnancy. This is normal and expected, and the majority will not develop gestational diabetes. But if you have a positive glucose urine test two visits in a row, your practitioner will probably have you take a glucose screening test sooner rather than later.

If your protein test is positive, your practitioner will consider offering further tests in order to make a preeclampsia diagnosis.

More on Prenatal Tests and Screenings

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If you test positive for a UTI, the infection can be easily taken care of with a course of antibiotics.

Risks

There are no risks of urine tests to you or your baby — though the mechanics of peeing into a plastic cup get pretty interesting in your ninth month. So try to just go with the flow.

Diagnosing GD

Everything you need to know about clear urine

If a person has clear urine occasionally, it is most likely that they are very well hydrated on those days.

However, a person may wish to speak to a doctor if they have consistently clear urine, as it may indicate an underlying condition, such as:

Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the body cannot regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels and therefore cannot use the sugar properly for energy.

People with diabetes often have excessive thirst and feel the need to urinate frequently. The excess urination is from the kidneys trying to get rid of extra sugar and liquid.

Without treatment, diabetes can be life threatening. However, a doctor can easily diagnose it with a blood test, and there are many treatment options.

Learn more about the symptoms of diabetes here.

Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition that occurs when the kidneys produce an unusually high amount of urine.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, most people pass around 1–2 quarts of urine per day. A person with diabetes insipidus passes about 3–20 quarts of urine each day.

People living with diabetes insipidus do not have issues with their blood sugar levels like those with more common types of diabetes.

Instead, their kidneys cannot balance fluids properly, and their body may make them feel more thirsty than normal to help replace lost fluids.

Underlying kidney problems

If the kidneys are damaged or infected, a person can experience abnormal urination, including clear urination.

They may also have other symptoms, such as painful urination or a fever.

A set of rare conditions known as Bartter syndrome, or potassium wasting, can also cause a person to urinate frequently. If they drink more to compensate, their urine may be clear.

Taking diuretics

Taking diuretics is another possible cause of clear urine. These medications cause the body to produce more urine to flush out extra salts and water.

If a person is taking diuretics, it can cause excessive urination that may be very pale or clear.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women may also develop a form of diabetes called gestational diabetes. The symptoms may be mild but include increased thirst and needing to urinate more often.

Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of pregnancy complications, so a doctor may test for it during a regular checkup. It usually disappears after childbirth.

Learn more about the symptoms of gestational diabetes here.

High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

What is high blood pressure in pregnancy?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when this force against your artery walls is too high. There are different types of high blood pressure in pregnancy:

  • Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that you develop while you are pregnant. It starts after you are 20 weeks pregnant. You usually don’t have any other symptoms. In many cases, it does not harm you or your baby, and it goes away within 12 weeks after childbirth. But it does raise your risk of high blood pressure in the future. It sometimes can be severe, which may lead to low birth weight or preterm birth. Some women with gestational hypertension do go on to develop preeclampsia.
  • Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that started before the 20th week of pregnancy or before you became pregnant. Some women may have had it long before becoming pregnant but didn’t know it until they got their blood pressure checked at their prenatal visit. Sometimes chronic hypertension can also lead to preeclampsia.
  • Preeclampsia is a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. It usually happens in the last trimester. In rare cases, symptoms may not start until after delivery. This is called postpartum preeclampsia. Preeclampsia also includes signs of damage to some of your organs, such as your liver or kidney. The signs may include protein in the urine and very high blood pressure. Preeclampsia can be serious or even life-threatening for both you and your baby.

What causes preeclampsia?

The cause of preeclampsia is unknown.

Who is at risk for preeclampsia?

You are at higher risk of preeclampsia if you

  • Had chronic high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease before pregnancy
  • Had high blood pressure or preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
  • Have obesity
  • Are over age 40
  • Are pregnant with more than one baby
  • Are African American
  • Have a family history of preeclampsia
  • Have certain health conditions, such as diabetes, lupus, or thrombophilia (a disorder which raises your risk of blood clots)
  • Used in vitro fertilization, egg donation, or donor insemination

What problems can preeclampsia cause?

Preeclampsia can cause

  • Placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus
  • Poor fetal growth, caused by a lack of nutrients and oxygen
  • Preterm birth
  • A low birth weight baby
  • Stillbirth
  • Damage to your kidneys, liver, brain, and other organ and blood systems
  • A higher risk of heart disease for you
  • Eclampsia, which happens when preeclampsia is severe enough to affect brain function, causing seizures or coma
  • HELLP syndrome, which happens when a woman with preeclampsia or eclampsia has damage to the liver and blood cells. It is rare, but very serious.

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

Possible symptoms of preeclampsia include

  • High blood pressure
  • Too much protein in your urine (called proteinuria)
  • Swelling in your face and hands. Your feet may also swell, but many women have swollen feet during pregnancy. So swollen feet by themselves may not be a sign of a problem.
  • Headache that does not go away
  • Vision problems, including blurred vision or seeing spots
  • Pain in your upper right abdomen
  • Trouble breathing

Eclampsia can also cause seizures, nausea and/or vomiting, and low urine output. If you go on to develop HELLP syndrome, you may also have bleeding or bruising easily, extreme fatigue, and liver failure.

How is preeclampsia diagnosed?

Your health care provider will check your blood pressure and urine at each prenatal visit. If your blood pressure reading is high (140/90 or higher), especially after the 20th week of pregnancy, your provider will likely want to run some tests. They may include blood tests other lab tests to look for extra protein in the urine as well as other symptoms.

What are the treatments for preeclampsia?

Delivering the baby can often cure preeclampsia. When making a decision about treatment, your provider take into account several factors. They include how severe it is, how many weeks pregnant you are, and what the potential risks to you and your baby are:

  • If you are more than 37 weeks pregnant, your provider will likely want to deliver the baby.
  • If you are less than 37 weeks pregnant, your health care provider will closely monitor you and your baby. This includes blood and urine tests for you. Monitoring for the baby often involves ultrasound, heart rate monitoring, and checking on the baby’s growth. You may need to take medicines, to control your blood pressure and to prevent seizures. Some women also get steroid injections, to help the baby’s lungs mature faster. If the preeclampsia is severe, you provider may want you to deliver the baby early.

The symptoms usually go away within 6 weeks of delivery. In rare cases, symptoms may not go away, or they may not start until after delivery (postpartum preeclampsia). This can be very serious, and it needs to be treated right away.

8 Historical Methods of Detecting Pregnancy

Home pregnancy tests are kind of magical—they’re like those litmus test things from junior high science, except they can tell you whether you’ve got a baby in there. These tests work by detecting trace levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine; hCG is present after egg implantation, which occurs six to 12 days after fertilization, and is secreted by the cells that are beginning to form the placenta. Home pregnancy tests became widely available in 1978, although they took two hours to develop and were accurate for negative results only 80 percent of the time. Nowadays, they can supposedly tell as early as five days before your missed period.

Before the invention of this miraculous device, the most reliable test was just to wait and see. But while it might be a nice surprise to find out you’re pregnant the old-fashioned way—barfing, missing periods, having a baby—women still wanted to know as early as possible whether or not they were harboring a tiny human.

So how’d they do it? Weirdly enough, it always comes back to pee.

1. The Wheat and Barley Test

One of the earliest, if not the earliest, home pregnancy tests came from Ancient Egypt. In 1350 BCE, women were advised to urinate on wheat and barley seeds over the course of several days; if the wheat sprouted, she was having a girl, and if the barley sprouted, a boy. If neither sprouted, she wasn’t pregnant. The most interesting thing about this test was that it actually worked: In 1963, a laboratory experimented with the wheat and barley test and found that, 70 percent of the time, the urine of pregnant women would cause the seeds to sprout, while the urine of non-pregnant women and men didn’t. The Ancient Egyptians knew everything.

2. The Onion Test

While the Ancient Egyptians were on to something with the wheat and barley test, they and the Ancient Greeks seem to have had a fuzzy understanding of anatomy. Both Egyptian medical papyri and Hippocrates, lauded as the father of medicine, suggested that a woman who suspected she might be pregnant insert an onion or other strong-smelling bulbous vegetable into her vagina overnight. If her breath smelled of onions the next morning, she wasn’t pregnant; this was based on the idea that her womb was open, and wafting the oniony scent up to her mouth like a wind tunnel. If she were pregnant, then the womb would be closed, so no wind tunnel.

3. The Latch Test

From The Distaff Gospels , a collection of women’s medical lore written in the late 15th century: “My friends, if you want to know if a woman is pregnant, you must ask her to pee in a basin and then put a latch or a key in it, but it is better to use a latch—leave this latch in the basin with the urine for three or four hours. Then throw the urine away and remove the latch. If you see the impression of the latch on the basin, be sure that the woman is pregnant. If not, she is not pregnant.” Say what now?

4. Piss Prophets

As bizarre as the “latch test” sounds, it still recognized that something in pregnant lady pee was different than non-pregnant lady or man pee, a fact that 16th century European “piss prophets” also recognized. These so-called experts claimed that they could determine whether or not a woman was with child by the color and characteristics of her urine. Some also mixed urine with wine and observed the results, a test that might have seen some success, given that alcohol can react to proteins present in pregnant lady pee. Of course, these piss prophets didn’t limit their wee-wee divination to pregnant ladies; they could also, by examining urine, intuit whether the urine’s owner was suffering from any illness or disease.

5. Look Into My Eyes

One 16th century physician, Jacques Guillemeau, claimed that you could tell by a woman’s eyes whether she was pregnant. Guillemeau, author of an influential treatise on ophthalmology, claimed that as early as the second month, “a pregnant woman gets deep-set eyes with small pupils, drooping lids and swollen little veins in the corner of the eye.” That is likely not true, but he was right about one thing: Eyes can change during pregnancy, affecting your vision. This is why it’s not a good idea to get new contacts or prescription glasses during pregnancy.

6. I Saw the Sign

Early on in pregnancy, roughly six to eight weeks in, the cervix, labia and vagina can take on a dark bluish or purple-red hue, owing to the increased blood flow to the area. This remarkable indication of pregnancy was first noticed in 1836 by a French physician. It later became known as Chadwick’s sign, after James Read Chadwick, an obstetrics doctor who brought the discovery up at a meeting of the American Gynecological Society in 1886. But given that you had to look at the vagina to see the sign, and how prudish 19th century doctors tended to be, it’s unlikely that Chadwick’s sign was used very often as an indicator of pregnancy.

7. The Rabbit Test

Aside from observational tests such as Chadwick’s sign, pregnancy tests were still an unpleasant crapshoot up until the 20th century. Investigation into hormones, the big thing in science at the turn of the century, just made pregnancy testing unpleasant for a bunch of rabbits, mice, and rats.

In the 1920s, two German scientists, Selmar Aschheim and Bernhard Zondek, determined that there was a specific hormone present in the urine of pregnant women that seemed to be linked to ovary growth; we now know it as human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. They figured this out by injecting the urine of pregnant women into sexually immature rabbits, rats, and mice, which would induce ovarian development. Most of the time, the pregnant lady pee would produce bulging masses on the animals’ ovaries, a sure indication of the presence of hCG. So, the Rabbit Test was born.

According to a contemporary medical journal, it worked like this: A sample of urine was injected into a group of young female mice over a period of five days. On the fifth day, the mice were killed and autopsied to examine the state of their ovaries. If their reproductive bits looked excited, the test was positive. If you wanted your results in less than five days, they could simply use more mice.

This method ran through a lot of rabbits, mice, and rats; though the phrase “the rabbit died” popularly meant that the woman was pregnant, in actuality, all of the rabbits—and the mice and rats—died. Though doctors could look at the ovaries of the animal without killing it, that tended to be too much trouble.

8. The Frog Test

Though it worked on the same principle as the Rabbit Test, this one was actually a bit better—at least the animal remained alive at the end of it. In the late 1940s, scientists determined that when pregnant lady pee is injected into a live toad or frog, the unfortunate amphibian will produce eggs within 24 hours. The toad or frog lived to see another day and, usually, another test. The test was also called the “Bufo” test, after the particular species of toad usually used.

As horrible as the animal-killing tests sound, they were important steps on the road to first the blood test and then the home pregnancy test, which fundamentally changed the way women think about pregnancy and their own bodies. So let’s all say a quiet thank you to the rabbits, rats, mice, frogs, and onions who were sacrificed for the cause.

See Also: 12 Terrible Pieces of Advice for Pregnant Women

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