Smelly Urine When Pregnant: Causes And Tips To Reduce It

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Smelly urine when pregnant is one of the several unusual symptoms one might experience. While it is not always a cause of concern, it may be uncomfortable for expecting mothers.

While some cases could indicate underlying pathology, it is essential to get examined by the doctor to rule out any infections or other problems causing smelly urine. Also, some care and precaution are essential in avoiding smelly urine during pregnancy. Read this post to learn the various causes and preventive measures of smelly urine during pregnancy.

Causes Of Smelly Urine During Pregnancy

The following are the common causes of smelly urine in pregnant women.

  1. Heightened sense of smell: It is believed that pregnancy might increase sensitivity to odors, also known as hyperosmia. Ammonia is naturally present in urine, but the smell is usually not strong. Due to the increased sense of smell in pregnancy, you can notice a bad odor. However, there is no medical evidence to establish a connection between increased olfactory response and pregnancy (1).
  1. Urinary infections: Urinary tract infection is a bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract and is common in pregnancy. Urinary tract infections can cause cloudy urine, which smells foul or unusual (2).
  1. Bacterial infections: Bacterial vaginosis or vaginitis is a vaginal infection caused by the overgrowth of bacteria. It may lead to a burning sensation and foul smell while peeing
    (3).
  1. Diet: You may have weird food cravings in pregnancy. Certain foods, including cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, garlic, coffee, and beer, can give the urine a temporary, strong odor (4).
  1. Supplements: Certain medications, vitamins, minerals, etc., can cause an unpleasant urine odor. However, do not stop the medicines without consulting your doctor (4).
  1. Dehydration: You should consume enough water for both your and the baby’s well-being. Otherwise, dehydration in pregnancy may lead to foul-smelling urine (5).

Tips To Help Reduce Urine Odor During Pregnancy

The following tips can help you avoid foul urine smell during pregnancy.

  • Drink six to eight glasses, or 1.5 to 2 liters of water or other fluids every day. Consuming sufficient fluids can prevent dehydration and foul-smelling urine (5).
  • Maintain good hygiene to help prevent foul smells. For example, bathing regularly, wiping from front to back each time after peeing, using mild, non-fragrant soaps to clean the genitals, etc., can protect the vagina from infections and foul smells.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that cranberry juice and apple cider vinegar can help acidify the urine, reducing the foul smell from the urine.
  • Empty the urinary bladder frequently to prevent urinary stasis, which can lead to an increased risk of UTIs and bad odor.
  • Avoid multiple sex partners and intercourse without male latex condoms to help prevent UTIs or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that may cause smelly urine.
  • Probiotics are considered to be beneficial in promoting vaginal health for women. According to some clinical studies, consuming probiotics can help cure bacterial vaginitis and reduce its recurrence (6).

Signs You Should Call The Doctor

Call your healthcare provider if you notice any of these signs along with the foul smell of urine (7):

  • Blood in pee
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Pain in the back or under the ribs
  • A general feeling of not feeling well
  • Unusual lethargy
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Fever with or without chills
  • Low body temperature

It is important to inform your doctor if you notice any strong or unusual urine smell at any stage in pregnancy. Regular check-ups can help diagnose vaginal and urine infections at the early stages and nip the problem in the bud. Also, following all necessary precautions can help prevent the factors causing smelly urine.

Key Pointers

  • Dehydration, certain supplements, and bacterial infections are some of the causes of smelly uring during pregnancy.
  • Staying optimally hydrated, maintaining personal hygiene, and frequent emptying of the urinary bladder could help reduce the odor.
  • Smelly urine isn’t usually a cause for concern unless accompanied by symptoms, such as lower abdominal pain, blood in urine, or fever with or without chills.

References:

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Dr. Ng Kai Lyn

(MMed (O&G), MRCOG)
Dr. Ng Kai Lyn is a Singapore-based obstetrician and gynecologist, specializing in urogynecology, minimally invasive surgery, and clinical interest in fertility. She has vast experience managing and treating benign gynecological conditions, including uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometrial polyps, and endometriosis. She is also fellowship trained in urogynecology. She manages pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor reconstructive surgery, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence,... more

Dr. Ritika Shah

Dr. Ritika Shah is a dental surgeon with more than seven years of clinical experience across various cities in India. During her clinical practice, pediatric dentistry was her particular area of interest, and she constantly thrived to inculcate the latest advancements in the field of dentistry into her practice. She also holds a certificate in lactation counselling from iNational Health... more