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What to Do If You’re Pregnant and Can’t Pee at Night

So many incredible and amazing things happen when you’re pregnant.

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Then there are the not-so great ones.

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And, then, there are the downright WTF-is-happening ones.

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We’ll go ahead and put not-being-able-to-pee-at-night in the WTF-is-happening category because it happened to me around week 10 (thankfully it only lasted a week), and, holy cow, it was something.

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It was really hard for me to find any resources online about it (because you know my husband and I were Googling “I’m pregnant and can’t pee 10 weeks” at 2 a.m.), so I wanted to share my experience with it and what worked for me. Not because I’m a doctor (obviously, always go to your doctor because not being able to pee can actually be a sign of a bladder infection), but because if it’s 2 a.m., you can’t pee and you’re finding this post, hopefully it’ll give you some relief.

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Like, serious relief. (That was a bad pee joke; I know.)

What to Do If You’re Pregnant and Can’t Pee at Night: My Experience and What Helped

So, it first happened in the middle of the night. I woke up and had to pee, BADLY. I made it to the bathroom, sat down, and nothing. I was only 10 weeks at the time, but it felt like the babies we’re straight up sitting on my pee parts and pushing down in a way that made not only the urge to pee stronger, but also the ability for the pee to come out impossible.

I tried a number of different positions: legs up, legs up on a stool like the Squatty Potty, leg crossed over the leg, standing in the shower (yeah, I was that desperate). I even tried meditating and deep relaxation with visualization of the pee moving out and down. Because, really, the pressure of having to pee that badly but not being able to wasn’t painful in an acute way, but it was definitely panic-inducing.

What eventually worked for me — and I only had this issue at night or when napping — was getting up at regular intervals throughout the night so I never built up too much pee, and walking around for a few minutes before even attempting to go. Once I walked for awhile, I found that if I sat on the toilet with my torso and head leaned as far over and as close to the ground as I possibly could with my legs out while bearing down and pushing the pee out as hard as I could, I could get the smallest of streams out. (No such thing as TMI around here.)

Honestly, it felt like a workout.

It took while, and it was a process each night, but the extra time spent (and sleep lost) of getting up every few hours and walking around really helped me and was TOTALLY WORTH IT. And, again, I’m happy to say that within a week, the babies moved positions and I haven’t had an issue since.

For more info, here’s a good thread I found on the topic — some women did have to go to the doctor / ER for help. I’m glad I didn’t have to do that, but if you find yourself in that position, do what you gotta do!

Anyone else have this happen to them? What worked for you? —Jenn

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23 Comments
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  2. AmazMom says:

    Happened to me for a couple weeks. Like you said, it’s definitely panic inducing. What I found was mine was due to my tilted uterus. The research I found said it’d stop after the first trimester when the uterus shifts due to size of Baby. Though I heard some women had to end up cath-ing it. That freaked me out. Mine did clear up but in the meantime I would try walking but what really helped was just sitting up in bed for about 10 mins. I’m also trying to do the getting up more often but it’s so tiring!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Bless you for this post. The exact same thing is happening to me and it’s started to really worry me. Like you, I only have this issue in the middle of the night when my bladder is very full. I’m 13 weeks and have a tilted uterus. From reading the comments here, that seems to be the cause. It’s so strange because I don’t have any issues peeing during the day….only at night.

  4. Kate says:

    I always find what I need when I google at 2am haha! I read the thread you linked because I too could not pee. Naturally I think you should go with the easiest things first. Walking a few min didn’t fix it. Someone said they did a headstand against the wall and I did that for about 30 seconds and then could go! I have a tilted back uterus so hopefully this only lasts another week or so

  5. Amy Maestas says:

    I am almost 13 weeks and I am having the same problem. I called my doctor and he made me come in and leave a urine sample it came back negative he said everything looked fine he said if it doesn’t stop I’m going to have to see a specialist. So I read someone’s comment so I walk for a few minutes and then when I sit I bend over as far as possible and push. It seems to help.

  6. Eve says:

    Thank you for your post as I really thought I’m the only one experiencing this night time peeing problem. Unfortunately, except for the headstand I tried everything you all mentioned and in my case, it’s worsening. It’s been gradually getting worse over the last 3 weeks. Had my urine sample, all good, called the emergency, but with the covid situation I needed to be passing out to be taken seriously. I had an urgent referral to an emergency gynea clinic from Monday and still waiting for them to call me, even though I’m on the phone with my surgery every day. One out of hour doctor I had a call with said I will probably need to be trained in applying catheter as it can be really serious. It gets to the point that I’m on my knees crying out of desperation to have a pee after 12 hours and nothing. Now just waiting till 8am to call a private urologist, recommendation from a private midwife I’ve just called. It’s literally unbelievable, how difficult is to get urgent help here in the UK 🙈🙈

    1. Jenn says:

      I am SO sorry to hear that! How miserable, frustrating, and scary. I hope you get some kind of relief and good care SOON. Hugs to you!

      –FBG Jenn

  7. Amy says:

    This happened to me both times that I was pregnant. I think it was from about 13-16 weeks (4 and 6 years ago, so, the time may be a tad off). Anyway, I was so desperate, I ended up filling up the tub at 2 am and lying down in the water to relax and just peed in the water. Then, of course I had to shower since I just pissed myself. One time it wouldn’t work and I ended up getting cathed at the ER. They gave my husband some small catheter sticks to bring home and taught him how to do it and he ended up having to cath me several times over a few weeks during each pregnancy!

    1. Jenn says:

      Wow! That’s crazy, Amy!

      –Jenn

  8. Tessa says:

    Oh my gosh thanks!!!! You are a lifesaver. 3.01 am and found your article by googling “pregnant not able to pee”. The “torso and head leaned over and close to the ground and legs out while bearing down and pushing the pee out” did the trick!!!!! Worked immediately!! Oh girl I m so happy, THANKS!

    1. Jenn says:

      So good to hear!!!
      –Jenn

  9. Rebecca Pearce says:

    Yes I had the same problem around 12 weeks I think with my last 3 pregnancys and it would last about a week I tried and tried to owe but nothing and it always happened at night and then during the day I had to go to ER and get a catheder put in it was the worst experience 😢

    1. Jenn says:

      Oh, my goodness, Rebecca!!!

      –Jenn

  10. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m 11 weeks pregnant and it’s been happening to me all week. I keep waking up every 2 hours, (I kid u not) and feel like im bursting and then only a dribble comes out, so I have to go to bed and lie down and stay awake for a while until the rest is ready. It’s so frustrating 😫

    1. Jenn says:

      It’s the worst, right?! Glad you found the post and know you’re not alone!

      –Jenn

  11. Armine says:

    Jen, you are a life saver! I am 13 weeks pregnant and today I had third time having trouble with urinating. Previous two time I ended up going to ER and getting catheter. Today I was like nope I am going to do this myself , while googling I found your article tried and magic, it worked !!! I was so happy!!! I also did “happy child” yoga pose after walking and I think that helped too.
    Again thank you for sharing your experience, it was very helpful!

    1. Jenn says:

      Wow! I am SO glad to hear that! Way to go, mama!!!

      –Jenn

  12. Amy P says:

    I had to laugh – I literally DID find this thread at 2am, desperate for relief. I had this happen a few times around weeks 14-17 in my second pregnancy. A few nights up for over two hours, trying anything to bring relief. What finally worked best for me was to just run a bath, get in, and relax for a bit . I rotated from side to side, then on my back a bit to try to move so the baby wasn’t sitting straight on top of my bladder and was able to relax enough to find relief. Also tuned on sound effects with water for added help. The more nights it happened, the more I panicked each consecutive night, so a tub also helped me relax a bit, which made an eventual return to bed easier.

    1. Jenn says:

      Wow! Those are great tips for other mamas!!! Thanks for sharing and so glad you got relief. 🙂

      –Jenn

  13. Jana says:

    Ok, this did happen during my last pregnancy, and now again. I had to go to the ER twice last time, first time I had 2l in my bladder… It hurt like hell!

    In my extreme cases, it only helped if I did something which I call the skunk move. I go into the shower, put my hands on the floor and my ass in the air. After a minute, I am able to go but kinda piss myself all over, therefore best to do it in the shower 😉

    1. Jenn says:

      OMG, Jana! Glad you discovered the skunk move!!! 🙂

      –Jenn

  14. Megan says:

    If I knew you and we were friends and you wrote this blog I would literally drive to your house and kiss you right now for how in love I am that you just literally relieved me comedically but physically too! Praise Jesus! You on going on my gratitude board. Hahahaha. Wooooo Jenn!

    1. Jenn says:

      Haha, so glad to hear that! 🙂

      –Jenn