Help! I’m Pregnant. I Can’t Stop Peeing. And I Don’t Want to Use Public Bathrooms.



COVID-19 has thrust our lives into unknown territory. We wonder about the future. We grieve the difficulties the world faces. We pray for healing and safety for all affected.

And, when it comes to smaller daily life habits and routine changes, I haven’t worn make-up in months. I have a designated errand day. I get a little panicked about one thing. If errand day exceeds 4 hours- I do not feel comfortable using public bathrooms anymore.

And I’m not even pregnant! I sympathize with all you expecting mommas out there right now.

I remember when I was pregnant and working in a PT clinic, I had to go pee every hour. 2 of my other coworkers were also pregnant. The 3 of us dashing to the back to pee all day became quite the joke.

I recently had a pregnant friend take her boards to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Because of COVID-19, they were allowing students to take their boards from home. There were virtual proctors and strict guidelines. As she sat down to take her test, someone virtually looked behind her ears, under her seat, and up her sleeves. Once she was cleared, she had to sit down for 5 hours. There were NO bathroom breaks. And she needed to complete the most defining academic test of her life. This was intimidating.

Check out the hilarious video I uploaded of my friend's Depend's confessional. 

My sweet, intelligent friend was not going to let years of hard work go down the drain because she had to pee. Oh, no. She knew how to beat the system. She wore Depends for that 5 hours. She didn’t end up needing them (thank goddess!). But she was comforted to know she could pee if she had to.

Think about that for a minute.

She was willing to pee on herself to do what she needed to do.

Women go to great lengths to navigate through this world of evolving social demands. Women’s health is so important. It’s important to develop healthy habits. Most don’t realize that pee frequency is a habit that can be improved upon.

How Many Times A Day Should You Pee? What’s Normal? 

The normal frequency of going to the bathroom is about every 4 waking hours, unless, you are going through menopause or pregnant. 

Increased Need to Visit the Loo While Pregnant Is Due To Several Factors:

  1. There is increased blood flow to your lower abdominal region when pregnant. This means that the bladder is getting all it needs to be very, well, active.
  2. Increased pressure from both your baby AND from the amniotic fluid.
  3. Changing hormones also have an effect on your brain/bladder communication system.
  4. Summertime. Since it’s summer, we’re all extra careful to stay hydrated.

Put all that together for pregnant mommas and—Woah. It makes you wonder if the statistics about how much time people spend in the bathroom in a lifetime (1.5 years...Really?!) includes potential pregnancy time.

But Don’t Worry- It’s Not Helpless!

Here are some things you can do to reduce incontinence, frequency, and urgency.

  1. If you feel the need to go pee and are, say, in a grocery aisle, you can apply perennial pressure.  A subtle way to do this is to squat down. Pretend you are looking at something on the lowest shelf.  Let the back of your heel press gently where your panty line would be. This sends a little signal to your brain that the bladder doesn’t have to contract.
  2. Distract yourself! Count backward from 100 by 7s, phone a friend, think about a silly childhood song.
  3. Stay hydrated! This seems counterintuitive. But actually, when you're filled with bladder-irritant substances it gets cranky and spastic. It will tell you to empty your bladder before it actually gets full.
  4. Avoid bladder irritant foods and drinks. This means beverages with caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, and tomato-based products. 
  5. Do some deep, diaphragmatic breathing. We teach you how to do this effectively in the Train4Birth program!
  6. Go to pee on a schedule. If you’re in the habit of urinating every 20 minutes it’s likely that you’ve trained your bladder. It will think that it can’t hold as much as it actually can. If you only ever carried a 5 lb baby... then one day you picked up a 20 lb baby, your arms muscles wouldn’t ready. The same principal applies for bladder muscles. How do you fix this? Start by going to pee every 30 minutes. Then, every few days, gradually increase the time between peeing by 10-20 minutes. Do this until you can go 2-4 hours between peeing.

These tips can work for anyone… not just pregnant women. Stress incontinence and nighttime urination frequency are very common issues. 

It’s important to pee. You don’t want to “hold it” too much and risk getting a UTI. Often every day is different in pregnancy. If you feel like you are leaking, it’s something to be aware of but is nothing to freak out about. *

How Do I Handle Potty Training During COVID-19?

A lot of parents feel anxious about potty training their kids. It is definitely a commitment. And it’s definitely a transitional time.  But honestly... I loved it. Jamie Glowaki’s book, Oh Crap, Potty Training made me feel ready to potty train my son at 14 months.

I could ask my son “OK, Where does your diaper go?!” And he could pick up his diaper, open the pail, put his diaper inside, and close the diaper pail by himself. I thought… if he can follow all these steps, he can follow steps to learn to use his own potty.

What I loved about potty training is that I saw his range of emotions show for the first time. I saw him experience pride, embarrassment, confusion, and surprise. Now, with COVID-19, I keep a mini potty in the car for him. I help him to use it before we go anywhere,  or when we get back inside the car from playing outside.

*Check with your doctor and/or a pelvic health physical therapist before performing any of these tips. This is all meant to be helpful information, not a medical prescription or diagnosis of any form. 

For more information and resources please don't hesitate to email me or join the Train4Birth community. 


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