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Pregnancy and Kidney Stones: My Story

Pregnancy and Kidney Stones: My Story

Passing Kidney Stones during pregnancy put me into early labor. But luckily everything turned out fine.

Health in pregnancy is such a complicated topic. I devote the entire 9 month of pregnancy to ‘best health practices’ for my baby. (my first trimester story)

Nothing means more to me than helping my baby grow in the optimal way while they are on the inside.

I bump up my vitamins, my exercise, my sleep. I don’t take in alchohol caffeine, sugar, carbonation, or over-the-counter drugs. (as much as possible), etc.

But there is something that I learned too late, that I was not working on. And that was my kidney health.

The biggest factor in keeping healthy kidneys is drinking lots of water. Hydration is the key.

I know this, and I know you know this. And I thought I was staying ‘hydrated’.

But also in pregnancy, the amount of time you get up to pee in the middle of the night, or stopping to go to the bathroom because your baby is sitting on top of your bladder, gets kinda ridiculous.

So I might have put water way low on my list of ‘must haves’ during pregnancy.

Signs that I didn’t know were signs about Kidney Stones developing while pregnant.

High Blood Pressure

At about 20 weeks of pregnancy, my blood pressure started acting a little weird. every time I went in for a check up, my blood pressure was a little high. (130s/90s) (high blood pressure is anything over 140/90).

But they would have me relax for 5 minutes, then try again. and my blood pressure always went down. . . Not amazingly, but back to a safe zone.

We always counted that towards the ‘white coat effect’. Which is just people being stressed to go to the doctors. (yes, that’s me).

Well at 33 weeks, my blood pressure didn’t go down. it was sitting at 138/93. So borderline worrisome.

My doctor and I had a slightly scary chat about preeclampsia, and if my blood pressure gets higher, or if I have swelling, I could get it.

Less Urination

Here is a weird thing. I noticed that for the past few weeks, I felt like I wasn’t peeing as much as I had been drinking.

Especially at night when I would wake up, usually it was from a full bladder, but not anymore. it was pitiful.

Apparently, with kidney stones, sometimes they can partially block the path of unrination, so you pee less.

This is really dangerous to have your kidneys back up with pee.

This is one way that kidney infections can happen.

Back Pain

This one is pretty well known, but less obvious when pregnant. Because guess what. Pregnancy also can give back pain!

pregnancy can give lower back pain because of compensating for the weight in the front, or for looser ligaments, etc.

You want to pay attention to if your back pain is only on one side. (although kidney stones can be on both sides). And if it’s more side pain than lower back in the middle. (think almost love handles area).

Being Pregnant

Being pregnant puts people on a higher risk of getting kidney stones because of the baby expanding and pushing and compressing all of our organs to make room for them. (pregnancy and kidney stones source)

These were all things that I had going on right before my 34th week in pregnancy, that looking back now, I can see I had the signs for a build up of kidney stones.

Title reads pregnancy and kidney stones with an image of a pregnant woman looking at her belly and a pile of stones

Hospital Visit.

Now, not all kidney stones are going to require a hospital visit. Sometimes people don’t even recognize that they had them, and they flush them out naturally without even knowing.

It is if they are big, or get stuck, that they can be crazy painful, and may need help.

What happens at the hospital for Pregnant moms with kidney stones.

I have to start off by saying this could have been much worse! The hand of providence was on my side that day.

My husband was supposed to go on a work trip. But his boss, at the last minute said he could wait a day. So my husband found himself with a free day from work (never happens).

As soon as the kids were done with school, we decided to go to the zoo.

Half the time my husband takes the kids somewhere, I don’t go. Usually so I take a nap.

But this time, even though I wasn’t feeling perfectly awesome (but I am in my third timester, so I thought it was normal), I felt like I should get some healthy walking in. So I decided to go..

As soon as we got on the freeway, the left side of my back started hurting, but the pain wrapped around to the front of my left side, and also started making my whole tummy contract.

I got VERY uncomforatble VERY fast.

I couldn’t think much more except, that if I went to the bathroom, I might feel better.

So when we got off the freeway, I convinced them to stop at the library first.

But before we could even pull into the library, I broke out into a cold sweat, and almost passed out. Looking back, i’m pretty sure I was going into shock.

I had my teenage daughter help me to the restroom. I stayed in there for probably 20 minutes in pain. Going between feeling like I had constipation, to feeling like I was having contractions, to feeling this pain in my left side that would not go away, but would get stronger. I even almost threw up once.

I knew at this point, that the bathroom was not going to be my answer.

So I went out and said “we have to go to the hospital”.

My husband asked if we should take the kids home first, I said “NO! We have to go NOW!”

By this time, the pain was excruciating, and I could not imagine living through this kind of pain another minute.

So we go in the car, I almost pass out a few more times. Luckily the hospital was also only a few blocks away.

We left my teenage daughter with the keys and my phone with the younger kids in the car. (don’t judge, you gotta do what you gotta do in an emergency. Plus we asked a friend to come pick them up from the hospital)

And my husband almost carried me to the Emergency room entrance.

Luckily, and this is true for all hospitals –

You don’t have to wait in the waiting room if you are pregnant.

They take one look at you, give you a wheelchair, and up you go straight to the maternity ward.

I was near passing out at this time, Contractions were strong, the kidney pain was stronger. . .

Fun Fact. Anything that would make your digestive tract contract (diarhea, constipation, kidney stones) can also get your uturus to contract. So literally the kidney stones were putting me into premature labor.

Labor is bad enough, but man! add in kidney stones, and it is beyond the worst!

They wheel me straight up, as they are checking me in, I say I’m going to throw up, they give me a blue throw up bag. And I upchuck everything in my stomach. Throwing up is also a sign of passing kidney stones.

What happens when you get into a hospital room for kidney stones and pregnancy:

They gave me a room. Let me use the bathroom again.

I dress into the awesome patient gown.

Then they strap the baby heart monitor on to make sure the baby is ok. Then they also strap the contraction tracker monitor on.

They take your blood pressure (mine was 138/93), and temperature.(normal)

And then the Doctor comes in to evaluate.

I’m pretty sure it is kidney stones with ‘not real labor’ contractions. So I tell her about how I feel.

She checks my back, pushing on the kidneys, yep, the left side hurts.

Then we do all of the fun hospital diagnostic tests (in between the long waits when I felt like dying.)

-Blood drawn and an IV of fluids

-Cervix exam plus taking samples for tests.

-The worst one is a partial catheter. They put a catheter in just to draw a urine sample. so it doesn’t stay in there.

-Finally they give me prescription strength tylenol, which eventually starts numbing the pain, and I can take a little nap.

Talking to the Doctor

When the tests come back, the Doctor comes back in and said that it was probably kidney stones. They had tested for a kidney infection, which was negative. If so, they would have given me antibiotics.

She said that she could do more tests to confirm the kidney stones. But most pregnant women refuse the radiation for the sake of their baby. Plus if the stones were too small, they may not appear.

I asked what would we do if I did the test, but they didn’t find anything. She said she would do the same thing, and treat me for kidney stones either way.

So I refused the test.

By now, because of the tylenol, my contractions (braxton hicks) had gone away.

Next choice was to either stay at the hospital, or work the kidney stones out at home.

I told her that if I could keep the pain down to what it was, I could do it at home.

Because honestly, I couldn’t handle that pain on my own.

So she gave me the safest pain relievers for pregnancy that were available, A “Stone Catcher” or pee sieve, to use everytime I peed. And a cup to put the stones in to show my doctor later. And sent me home.

Her instructions were “lots and lots and lots of clear liquids”.

Water was the key to flushing these bad boys out.

At this point I was feeling AWESOME!

The fluids had really helped, along with the medication. And I walked just fine out of the hospital. (I wonder if I had passed some of the stones while at the hospital before I was given the sieve)

I drank about 8 cups of water just that night, and had caught a few pieces of what looked like sand.

And I used one pill that night. And the next day, felt so good, I didn’t use anything else.

I went to my doctors office the next day, and my blood pressure was 118/73. Ridiculous!

I had been trying to figure out how to get my blood pressure down. Turns out I just needed to get some stones out!

Biggest take away/



This is the best way to keep kidney stones away from pregnancy. and believe me, you don’t want those two things at the same time.

If you start suspecting kidney stones, talk to your doctor about it.

Then up your water, I’ve heard putting squeezed lemon juice with your water can help break down the calcium deposits too. So try putting lemon juice in your water. It definitely won’t make it worse!

If this has been on your mind, I hope my story helps inspire you to do what you need to to help your body!

title reads passing kidney stones during contractions, my story and how to avoid it happening to you. with image of a pregnant woman and a kidney stone

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Friday 18th of September 2020

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