Leaking Urine


The information provided below is for readers based in the United States of America. Readers outside of the United States of America should seek the information from local sources.

What is leaking urine?

Urine leakage, sometimes called pregnancy discharge, is a type of urinary incontinence (UI), meaning a type of condition in which urine is released when you dont want it to be released. In contrast with another, very common type of UI called stress urinary incontinence characterized by urine being released when pressure in the bladder increases, such as when you cough or lift something, urine leakage is characterized by urine leaking out in the absence of a strong force.3

How common is leaking urine in pregnancy?

A study conducted on more than 800 women in Ireland found that nearly 39 percent of women in their first pregnancy experience leaking urine at least once during pregnancy. However, the same study also found that nearly 35 percent of women already leak urine prior to becoming pregnant. Nearly 18 percent experience urine leakage at least once per month during pregnancy.2

How is leaking urine diagnosed?

One method that is used is a bladder diary in which you record how much volume of liquid you drink, what volume of urine you produce throughout the day, how much urge you have to urinate each time that you do, and how many times urine has leaked. Doctors also may order a urinalysis to look for signs of urinary tract infection.

Does leaking urine cause problems during pregnancy?

Whether during pregnancy or after, moderate to severe urinary incontinence has been found to be associated with sexual dysfunction.5

Does leaking urine during pregnancy cause problems for the baby?

Leaking urine does not cause any particular problems for the baby.

What to consider about taking medications when you are pregnant:

  • The risks to yourself and your baby if you do not treat the leaking urine
  • The risks and benefits of each medication you use when you are pregnant
  • The risks and benefits of each medication you use when you are breastfeeding

What should I know about using medication to treat leaking urine during pregnancy?

The principal medical treatment for leaking urine in non-pregnant adults consists of a category of medications called antimuscarinic drugs. These include oxybutynin, propiverine, solifenacin, tolterodine, darifenacin, trospium, fesoterodine, and imidafenacin, but they are not used frequently in pregnancy, as leaking urine associated with pregnancy tends to resolve after delivery.1,4

Who should NOT stop taking medication for leaking urine during pregnancy?

Generally, medication is not given for leaking bladder during pregnancy.

What should I know about choosing a medication for leaking urine?

You may find Pregistrys expert reports about the individual medications to treat leaking urine in here. Additional information can also be found in the sources listed at the end of this report.

What should I know about taking a medication for leaking urine when I am breastfeeding?

Very little is known about the safety of anticholinergic drugs in new mothers who breastfeed, except that there appears to be a wide range of differences between the various drugs. The drug solifenacin, for example, is known to concentrate in breastmilk and to remain in the body for a relatively long time, so it is best to avoid it and opt for a different drug in the same category.

What alternative therapies exist besides medications to treat leaking urine?

Leaking urine can be treated through a variety of approaches. The simplest approach is to change bathroom behavior by implementing tactics such as bladder training, scheduling trips to the toilet, managing your fluid intake carefully, and double voiding, meaning urinating a second time a few minutes after you urinate a first time, in order to void more urine from the bladder. There also are pelvic floor exercises, electrical stimulation of pelvic floor muscles, urinary catheters and other devices that you can wear, injection of very small amounts of botulinum toxin type A (Botox), nerve stimulation, and various surgical procedures.

What can I do for myself and my baby when I have leaking urine during pregnancy?

First of all, bear in mind that generally, the condition improves after the pregnancy is over. If the condition is severe, however, discuss the various intervention options with your doctor.

Resources for leaking urine during pregnancy:

For more information about leaking urine before, during, and after pregnancy, contact http://www.womenshealth.gov/ (800-994-9662 [TDD: 888-220-5446]) or read the following articles:


  1. Appell RA. Overactive bladder in special patient populations. Rev Urol. 2003;5 Suppl 8:S37-41.
  2. Daly D, Clarke M, Begley C. Urinary incontinence in nulliparous women before and during pregnancy: prevalence, incidence, type, and risk factors. Int Urogynecol J. 2018;29(3):353-362.
  3. Wesnes SL, Lose G. Preventing urinary incontinence during pregnancy and postpartum: a review. Int Urogynecol J. 2013;24(6):889-99.
  4. Yamada S, Ito Y, Nishijima S, Kadekawa K, Sugaya K. Basic and clinical aspects of antimuscarinic agents used to treat overactive bladder. Pharmacol Ther. 2018.
  5. Zincir H, Demir G, Günaydin Y, Ozen B. Sexual Dysfunction in Married Women With Urinary Incontinence. Urol J. 2018.


Read the whole report
General information

It is very common for women to worry about having a miscarriage or giving birth to a child with a birth defect while they are pregnant. Many decisions that women make about their health during pregnancy are made with these concerns in mind.

For many women these concerns are very real. As many as 1 in 5 pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and 1 in 33 babies are born with a birth defect. These rates are considered the background population risk, which means they do not take into consideration anything about the health of the mom, the medications she is taking, or the family history of the mom or the baby’s dad. A number of different things can increase these risks, including taking certain medications during pregnancy.

It is known that most medications, including over-the-counter medications, taken during pregnancy do get passed on to the baby. Fortunately, most medicines are not harmful to the baby and can be safely taken during pregnancy. But there are some that are known to be harmful to a baby’s normal development and growth, especially when they are taken during certain times of the pregnancy. Because of this, it is important to talk with your doctor or midwife about any medications you are taking, ideally before you even try to get pregnant.

If a doctor other than the one caring for your pregnancy recommends that you start a new medicine while you are pregnant, it is important that you let them know you are pregnant.

If you do need to take a new medication while pregnant, it is important to discuss the possible risks the medicine may pose on your pregnancy with your doctor or midwife. They can help you understand the benefits and the risks of taking the medicine.

Ultimately, the decision to start, stop, or change medications during pregnancy is up to you to make, along with input from your doctor or midwife. If you do take medications during pregnancy, be sure to keep track of all the medications you are taking.

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