pregnant woman with urinary stasis looking at herself in her bathroom mirror
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“Your bladder isn’t directly involved with the reproductive process, but it may have effects on your bladder.”

Needing to urinate more frequently is both an early sign of pregnancy and a typical symptom in the third trimester, as your expanding uterus puts pressure on your bladder and makes it unable to hold as much as it used to.

There is a possibility that you will have a condition called urinary stasis. This refers to a problem with urinating.

Urinary stasis can be uncomfortable and frustrating. It can also lead to complications like urinary tract infections (UTIs), a fairly common — but potentially serious — concern during pregnancy.

“You need to know what to look for during the first few weeks of your baby’s life.”

“The stopping of urine is called urinary stasis. It doesn’t mean you can’t urinate.”

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), you may also:

  • The flow of urine can be difficult to initiate.
  • In small amounts.
  • “You can’t fully empty your bladder.”
  • Have a lot of urges to urinate.
  • Slow flow of urine is a leak.
  • Lower abdominal pain or swelling can be experienced.

Urinalysis can cause other concerns during pregnancy. These concerns may be serious.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

The most common complication of urinary stasis during pregnancy is UTI. If you are pregnant, you are already more susceptible to UTIs for several reasons, including:

  • The hormones change.
  • There are differences in the body.
  • Your uterus is putting pressure on the bladder.

When urine remains in the bladder for long periods of time, bacteria can grow and lead to an infection in the urinary tract, according to 2022 research.

Kidney infection and bladder damage

People usually recover without difficulty when they are treated quickly.

Untreated UTIs can spread to the kidneys, causing an infection called pyelonephritis. This is a serious issue requiring immediate treatment.

Long-term urinary retention can also weaken the bladder and cause incontinence, according to the NIDDK.


Miscarriage due to urinary stasis is very rare, occurring in less than 1% of pregnancies — but it can happen.

The first and second trimesters are when some types of urinary stasis occur. Acute urinary retention is what this could be called. It may happen because of differences in the uterus.

AUR can happen suddenly and cause intense symptoms. AUR during pregnancy is considered a medical emergency. According to three case reports published in 2021, it may indicate serious complications like enlarged uterus, uterine prolapse, and other anomalies.

If left untreated, AUR can pose a threat to both baby and parent, a 2022 case report suggests.

The same symptoms of urinary stasis are present during and after pregnancy.

  • The flow of urination is changed.
  • There are sudden urges to urinate.
  • It is not possible to void, begin voiding or void completely.
  • Lower abdominal pain or swelling.

There are several reasons why urinary stasis might occur during a pregnant woman. The growing uterus is usually to blame for some type of physical compression or obstruction.

Other possible causes for stasis during birth include:


Constipation may happen more frequently through all 9 months of pregnancy. Because constipation can irritate and press on the bladder wall and ureters, it can also lead to urinary stasis.

Bladder or ureter obstruction

Urinary stasis is common in older men, especially those with an enlarged prostate, because the prostate puts added pressure on the urethra and stops the typical flow of urine.

The uterus can cause a similar issue as it often crowds other organs.

Weak bladder muscles

According to the NIDDK, pregnancy can weaken the muscles of the bladder, which can make it harder to fully empty it when urinating. This form of underactive bladder can cause stasis.

Uterine anomalies

As we mentioned, structural differences in the uterus can lead to urinary stasis or incontinence. This is especially true for a tilted or retroverted uterus.

This condition usually resolves itself around the end of the first trimester. If it doesn’t, the uterus can become trapped inside the pelvis, causing serious complications, according to 2019 research.

If you have symptoms of urinary retention or stasis during your pregnancies, it is important to let your healthcare professional know. They can diagnose it in many ways.

  • A physical exam is done.
  • blood work
  • urinalysis
  • Diagnostic tests include scans of the body.
  • To see how well your urine flows and how much urine is left in your bladder after voiding, you can take post-void measurements.
  • urodynamic tests to assess how well your bladder stores and empties urine, per the NIDDK

Your doctor will need to determine the cause of your urinary stasis to choose the best treatment option for you. There are treatment options for urinary stasis in pregnant women.


You will likely need to have a catheter inserted to drain the urine inside your bladder. The catheter can help relieve your pain and reduce the stress on your bladder, urinary tract, and kidneys.

A catheter that stays in place may be required for some people. This type of catheter is used to stay in the body.

Others may have catheters that they use to empty their bladder. Your healthcare professional will teach you how to use the catheter.


If your doctor thinks that your medication is causing urinary stenosis, he or she may lower the dose or stop you from taking it. It is important to discuss all your medication with your healthcare professional, especially during pregnancy, since some over-the-counter medications can cause urinary stasis.

If you have a urinary tract infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics.

Vaginal pessary

A vaginal pessary is a device, usually ring-shaped, that is inserted into the vagina. It helps lift and support structures that may be compressing the bladder and limiting urine flow.

Physical therapy

The NIDDK recommends physical therapy to learn and practice Kegel exercises which may help improve the structure of your pelvic floor.

Medical interventions

Although rarely performed, if your urinary retention is caused by a tilted uterus, your doctor may be able to manually or surgically reposition the uterus so that it fits appropriately within your pelvis and reduces pressure on your bladder, according to a 2021 review of scientific literature.

The risk factors for urinary stasis during pregnancy aren’t well researched, though we do know that having a retroverted uterus is a primary risk factor, as are pelvic adhesions, uterine wall defects, and endometriosis.

A 2016 cohort study from Taiwan also identified some other potential risk factors for urinary stasis, including:

  • advanced maternal age
  • Premature delivery before.
  • Gestational diabetes can occur.
  • Prior to abortion.
  • Existing infections.

Immediate intervention is required if you have AUR. You can have a healthy baby with prompt treatment.

Chronic urinary retention is more common during pregnancy.

You may be a candidate for physical therapy, bladder training, or some other method to maintain a healthy flow of urine.

“If you don’t have proper management, you could be more prone to recurrent infections during your pregnancy, which can lead to damage to your body.”

Does getting a UTI during pregnancy mean I have urinary stasis?

No, not necessarily. Unless you’re also having difficulty urinating or fully emptying your bladder, you probably don’t have urinary stasis. UTIs are extremely common during pregnancy because of hormonal and anatomical changes, so most people with UTIs during pregnancy are not also experiencing urinary stasis.

Will I need surgery if I have urinary stasis during pregnancy?

“It is possible, but it won’t be the first approach. If you have a permanent obstruction in your urethra, like a blood clot or bladder stone, it may need to be removed. If you have a retroverted uterus that can’t be corrected manually, you may need surgery to fix it.”

Will my urinary stasis go away after I deliver?

If your urinary stasis is chronic and caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy, there is a good chance it will resolve itself after you give birth. Post-Natal urinary stasis is a common condition for people who give birth vaginally.

People experience urination problems during pregnancy, whether it is increased or recurring. Urinalysis can be caused by a variety of factors, including a serious difference in the way your body works.

It requires treatment. If you are having trouble urinating or experiencing abdominal pain during your pregnancies, you should immediately inform your doctor or healthcare professional.