Being pregnant can be difficult enough with all of the sometimes unpleasant side effects to deal with. However, for some women, they also have the added issue of dealing with kidney stones.
Pregnancy itself doesn’t actually increase the risk of kidney stones. However, it can be more difficult to treat them if they do develop. Read on to find out more about kidney stones and pregnancy.
What Causes Kidney Stones to Develop in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy by itself isn’t a risk factor for kidney stones. However, it can still increase your risk due to a number of factors.
When you are pregnant, the body needs more water to function correctly. So, if you don’t increase your intake, you could end up developing kidney stones through a lack of fluid.
Sometimes there can also be a genetic link. If your family has a history of hypercalciuria, you will be more likely to develop kidney stones in pregnancy. Bowel irritation, dilation of the uterus, increased filtration and an excessive calcium intake can also trigger the development of kidney stones in pregnancy.
How Common Are They?
Kidney stones during pregnancy are not overly common. They are said to affect one in every 1,500-3000 pregnancies. They tend to mostly occur during the third trimester but can also develop in the second trimester.
It is worth pointing out that having kidney stones when you are pregnant will not increase the risk to your baby. There are no known risks to baby associated with kidney stones.
Signs of Kidney Stones in Pregnancy
The symptoms of kidney stones are the same in pregnancy as they are generally. This includes pain and blood in the urine. You won’t necessarily notice the increased need to urinate symptom as pregnancy tends to make you go to the toilet more frequently anyway. However, if very little urine comes out, this could be another sign of kidney stones.
If you do suspect you have symptoms of kidney stones, you’ll need to get them diagnosed. Usual ultrasound and x-rays won’t be used during pregnancy. Instead, you’ll need to have a blood and urine test.
How to Treat Them
If you are diagnosed with kidney stones, the doctor will provide advise on how they will be best treated. Paracetamol may be prescribed to help you deal with the pain. You will also be advised to increase your fluid intake.
If for whatever reason the stones won’t pass by themselves, surgery may be required. Some surgical procedures such as open surgery and shockwave therapy aren’t suitable for pregnant women. So, you may need a ureteroscopy or a tube or stent placement instead. Surgery will only be done if it is absolutely necessary.
Having kidney stones when you are pregnant can negatively impact your experience. So, having them diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible is advised. You can prevent kidney stones from forming during pregnancy by ensuring you drink plenty of fluids – no less than 12 glasses of water each day. This may cause you to urinate more frequently, but avoiding kidney stones is definitely worth the added inconvenience.