Retention of Urine in Pregnancy: Causes, Pathology, and Treatment

Retention of urine in pregnancy is a condition characterized by difficulty urinating, slight retention of urine, discomfort in the lower abdomen, and irritability.


Possible causes of retention of urine in pregnancy include:

  • Excessive physical exercise, which can injure the muscles and the spleen, leading to spleen qi deficiency
  • Pressure from the growing fetus on the bladder, which can exacerbate spleen qi deficiency and lead to slight retention of urine
  • Excessive sexual activity, standing, or lifting, which can injure the kidneys and cause kidney qi deficiency
  • External dampness, which can obstruct the transformation and transportation of urine
  • Irregular diet, which can lead to the accumulation of dampness in the urinary passages


The pathology of retention of urine in pregnancy is characterized by a combination of physical and energetic factors. Spleen qi deficiency and sinking or kidney qi deficiency and sinking may lead to the fetus dropping down and pressing on the bladder, or vice versa. In pregnancy, retention of urine is always due to empty causes, such as qi deficiency and sinking.

Identification of Patterns and Treatment

Possible patterns associated with retention of urine in pregnancy include:

  • Spleen qi deficiency and sinking
  • Kidney qi deficiency and sinking
  • Damp-heat in the bladder

Each pattern has its own clinical manifestations, treatment principle, and prognosis.

Western Medicine Viewpoint

Western medicine may treat retention of urine in pregnancy with medications, catheterization, or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. It is important for pregnant women to drink plenty of fluids and urinate regularly to prevent retention of urine.

Overall, retention of urine in pregnancy is a common condition that can be effectively treated with acupuncture, herbs, and other holistic therapies.