During pregnancy many physical changes take place in a female’s body. Some of these changes are expected while some may be pathological and may require medical treatment. Smelly urine is one of the common complaints of pregnant females. The symptom can appear during the initial stages of pregnancy in some females while in some it can appear in the later part of pregnancy. The symptom may also occur acutely and appear only once while it may be chronic for others lasting for many weeks. There could be multiple causes of smelly pee during pregnancy, some of which are benign not requiring treatment; however, it could also be due to an illness that requires medical treatment.

Causes of Smelly Pee During Pregnancy


Leakage of Urine

Apart from increased production of urine, the muscles of bladder and urethra are also relaxed during pregnancy. This can cause urinary incontinence or involuntary leakage of urine. This symptom is worsened by sneezing, coughing, laughing or straining. You may also experience difficulty in holding urine and have slight urinary leakage. Urine odor can result from even a tiny amount of leakage of urine. Leakage of urine is a common occurrence during pregnancy, occurring in around 30-50% of pregnant females. It can start as early as in the first trimester.


Concentrated Urine

Usually urine has little to no odor but it contains ammonia, a byproduct produced from protein metabolism by your kidneys. Usually the concentration of ammonia in urine is quite low, as it is diluted by water. But if you are drinking less water, your urine becomes concentrated and may emit a strong odor of ammonia. Drinking large quantities of water is important during pregnancy as the demand of the body is increased and it makes the body prone to dehydration. The kidneys reabsorb more water in a dehydrated pregnant female making the urine concentrated and smelly.


Infections of the Urinary Tract and Vagina

Urinary tract infection is among the most common infections during pregnancy. The urine may emit a strong and unpleasant odor due to a urinary tract infection (UTI). Some other symptoms of a UTI may include fever, painful or frequent urination, and back pain; however, some pregnant females have no symptoms though the bacteria are present in their urine. Bacterial vaginosis – an infection of the vagina can also produce an unpleasant, fishy odor. Though the infection is in vagina, still you notice the smell while you urinate as secretions from the vagina mix with urine. Though the risk of BV does not increase during pregnancy, still it is imperative to get treatment as the infection increases the risk of premature labor.


Increased Sensitivity to Smells

The sensitivity to smells is heightened in many pregnant females. This may result in the belief that they have smelly pee during pregnancy.


Human Gonadotropin (HGT)

It is known as a pregnancy hormone, because the pregnancy tests are designed to look for it. According to some sources, the smell of urine can also be affected by HGT.



The urine can become smelly by eating certain foods. Some of the common foods that may make urine smelly are asparagus and broccoli.

Treatment of Smelly Pee During Pregnancy

When a pregnant female observes a change in the smell of urine, she should seek immediate medical attention as it can be a symptom of a urinary tract or vaginal infection, which needs to be treated as it may adversely affect your baby. Some of the common treatments include the following:

Always keep the genitals area dry and clean, especially after passing urine. Pat dries the area in the front to back direction with a clean and soft cloth. A moist and warm area makes an ideal environment for the multiplication of bacteria. Don’t use scented soaps.


The need to pass urine should never be ignored. Whenever you feel the urge to urinate, visit the toilet and pass urine. The risk of infection is increased if urine stays for a longer time in the urinary bladder.


Change your undergarments daily. It is recommended to wear loose cotton clothing as it keeps the area dry.


Increase your water and fluid intake as this helps in preventing dehydration. This also dilutes the urine making it less smelly.


Non-teratogenic drugs and antibacterial treatments are prescribed to females who develop an infection.


Keeping genital hygiene and regularly washing the genital area with a pH balanced wash may help in the prevention of smells and infections.


It is recommended to use plain bathing water and not use bubble bath or any type of oil. Also, you should avoid soaking in the tub for more than 30 minutes two times a day. Foul smelling urine during pregnancy does not always indicate an infection. However, one should be cautious.


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