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Change In Urine Color During Pregnancy: Causes & When to See a Doctor?


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Pregnancy brings forth a lot of changes to a woman’s body and is not limited to just the reproductive functions. From hormonal changes to changes in one’s urine color, the list goes on.

While a first look into the sudden change in urine color during pregnancy might not seem alarming, it signifies a lot about the health of the mother and the developing fetus. Every time you shift your gaze into the toilet bowl and notice a darker shade of urine, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are dehydrated. The change in color of your urine during pregnancy can indicate many other factors.

This article will explore all you need to know about pregnancy urine color, its significance, and its potential causes.

How does the Urine Color Change throughout the Pregnancy?

We have heard growing up that having light yellow colored urine is considered ideal. It’s what indicates good health and renal function.

But, witnessing dark-colored urine discharge during pregnancy is fairly common too. Besides the darker shade, many pregnant women also complain about frequent urination.

Wondering why it happens? You have the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone to blame for it. The hCG level elevates in the bloodstream following the successful embryo implantation into the uterus.

hCG has a mild diuretic property, which triggers frequent urination in pregnant women. Additionally, with the consistent growth of the fetus, the space around the abdominal and pelvic region is occupied by the fetus.

You will often hear pregnant women saying, “The baby is pressing down on my bladder,” which is exactly what happens. As the uterus pushes into the bladder, it reduces the size and capacity of the bladder, hence the frequent urge to urinate.

Also, since the pelvic floor muscles become more flexible and looser, witnessing a slight urine discharge when you sneeze or laugh is common during pregnancy.

Why does the Urine Color Change during Pregnancy?

You might witness dark yellow urine during pregnancy, and the very first thought is, “Why does it happen?”

Well, several factors contribute to the issue, including:

1. Food you are eating

Your pregnancy diet translates to your well-being throughout the pregnancy. There are certain fruits and vegetables that you eat during pregnancy that might change or darken the color of the urine output.

2. Vitamins and medication side-effects

Prenatal vitamins and certain medications during pregnancy are quintessential to support the health of the mother and the child. However, there are instances wherein the ingested vitamins aren’t broken down entirely in the body. This is then filtered through the kidneys and expelled out of the body via the urine, leading to dark coloration.

3. Dehydration

The water balance in your body also determines the color of your urine. If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day, it might end up causing the urine to darken in color. Dehydration during pregnancy is fairly common, especially for pregnant women who are struggling with extreme nausea and morning sickness. Supplementing your body with electrolytes and replenishing the hydration levels is thus crucial if you want to ensure a comfortable and healthy pregnancy.

4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Experiencing UTIs during pregnancy is very common. Although it’s not life-threatening, leaving it without treatment can lead to pregnancy complications like pre-term labor, stunted fetal growth, etc. UTIs also lead to a change in the color of the urine. So, if you notice discomfort while urinating and notice a darker color of the urine, it could be an early sign of a UTI. Consult your doctor about it.

5. Hematuria

If you notice a darker, almost brown urine color during pregnancy, it could be a sign of hematuria. This is a condition that involves the discharge of red blood cells in the urine, leading to a dark color. It can be a sign of kidney disease or other pregnancy complication that needs immediate medical intervention.

6. Renal Complications

Last but definitely not least includes kidney disease or kidney stones. Both of these situations are damaging to the mother’s body and require close monitoring and frequent testing. The presence of kidney stones in the renal system can impose obstruction to the renal flow, leading to a lot of complications. Similarly, if its kidney disease, it will impair the organ’s ability to filter out the waste, leading to the changed color of the urine.

Being mindful of the symptoms is very important, especially when you are in such a delicate situation as pregnancy. If something feels wrong or uncomfortable, discuss the symptoms with your doctor to get a comprehensive understanding of what’s happening.

What are the Urine Tests during Pregnancy?

If your doctor feels that there’s something wrong with the symptoms you are telling, they will prescribe urine tests to find what’s wrong.

Regular and standard urinalysis is anyhow quite common throughout pregnancy to check the mother’s renal health and monitor the blood glucose levels. Your doctor might prescribe urine tests to assess for the discharge of foreign bodies like protein and blood in the urine.

Besides that, urine tests are also beneficial for monitoring the presence of any microbial growth, which could be a cause of urinary tract or urinary bladder infections in the mother.

When should I see a doctor?

Witnessing changes in the early pregnancy urine color is normal and nothing you should worry about.

However, things aren’t as black and white as you always think. If the change in the urine color is due to common issues like dehydration, the repercussions aren’t as harmful. But, cases of urinary tract infections (UTIs) demand immediate medical attention.

It could be a sign of an active infection if you are experiencing discomfort, pain, or a burning sensation while urinating. Sometimes, if you notice that the urine is still dark in color despite being on medications or increasing the water intake, it indicates a possibility of liver or kidney disease.

Bodily changes are normal during pregnancy. But, if you notice anything amiss with your body that’s persistent and not sitting right with your well-being, discuss the issue immediately with your OBGYN.


What color is your pee supposed to be during pregnancy?

Clear, non-cloudy, and light yellow colored urine is considered ideal during your pregnancy. But, witnessing a slightly darker urine color is also common and can be a sign of dehydration or medicinal side effects.

How do you know if you have cholestasis in pregnancy?

The primary symptom of cholestasis in pregnancy is rigorous itching and discomfort. You might also experience yellowing of the skin, nausea, and loss of appetite with it.

Does preeclampsia cause dark urine?

Some rare cases of preeclampsia can cause darker-colored urine discharge, especially because of the infrequent urine discharge and heightened blood pressure.


Changes to your urine color during pregnancy are much more common than you think. While it isn’t generally a sign of concern, we’d recommend that you pay attention to any accessory symptom you might experience. Sometimes, the stark change in urine color could indicate an active infection, which demands immediate medical attention. We hope this article gives you a comprehensive understanding of the what and why related to darker urine discharge during pregnancy.

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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