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Why is pregnancy causing my kidneys to swell?
Q: I'm pregnant with my second child and I'm having major kidney problems. My OB/GYN doesn't know what's wrong; I was hoping you could give me a general idea why my kidneys might be swelling so badly?
A: Dear Tamey,

The kidneys are affected by pregnancy in several ways. With the increase in fluid build-up required to support a pregnancy, the kidney naturally has more work to do. As the pregnancy progresses, the enlarging uterus can press down on the tubes carrying urine to the bladder, causing swelling of the kidney. In both cases, the kidneys are generally able to compensate and perform their function without difficulty. Kidney swelling can also occur if you have a large kidney stone blocking the flow of urine. In addition, recurring kidney infections can damage the kidneys and lead to swelling.

In difficult cases, it is always appropriate to ask your obstetrician for a referral to a specialist such as a nephrologist (medical doctor caring for the kidneys) or urologist (surgeon caring for the kidneys). Working as a team, they should be able to help resolve your kidney problem.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
Dr. B.