Kidney stones occur in about one of every 1,500 to 3,000 pregnancies-about the same rate as in non-pregnant women of childbearing age. Overall, kidney stones affect about 1 in 11 people-19% of men and 9% of women by age 70.
Kidney stones occur most often in the second or third trimester. The most common sign is pain in the upper abdomen or back and sides, which often spreads to the groin or lower abdomen. Common symptoms include nausea/vomiting, urinary urgency and frequency. Blood in the urine is also a symptom.
Stone formation during pregnancy may be caused by changes to a woman's body. Late in pregnancy, the bladder is squeezed by the growing fetus. This means pregnant women make many bathroom trips. As a result, they may avoid drinking enough liquids. Lack of fluids may lead to the start of kidney stones.
Diagnosing and treating kidney stones can be done safety, with little risk to the mother or baby. Most kidney stones pass through the body, especially if they are smaller. Larger stones may need treatment. If left untreated, kidney stones may lead to premature labor or interfere with normal labor, which could pose a health threat to the baby.
Treatment of kidney stones in pregnancy ranges from bed rest, pain relievers and getting enough fluids, to threading a very small telescope called a utereroscope into the bladder and kidney to remove or break up a stone.
If you've already had kidney stones, the best way to stop future stones is to drink enough liquid-about 3 quarts (ten 10-ounce glasses) a day. Remember to drink more to replace fluids lost when you sweat from exercise or in hot weather. It's best to drink mostly no-calorie or low-calorie drinks. This may mean limiting caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.