UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) in Pregnancy

UTI known in full as urinary tract infection affects the urinary system. This includes the ureter which is the tube that transports urine from the kidneys into the bladder, the kidneys, bladder and the urethra which is responsible for expelling urine from the body. This infection mostly affects the bladder and urethra but it can also extend to your ureter and the kidneys as well. Urinary tract infection during pregnancy is not something that you should neglect because it can pose danger to both you and your baby. Read on how you can treat and prevent this problem.

Causes of UTI in Pregnancy

UTI is a bacterial infection. Although bacteria are naturally present in our body, it’s important to know that the urine does not contain bacteria. That said, you will find bacteria present in the stool, lower bowel and the skin which means that it can get into the urinary tract system and bring about the infection. Some of the ways that bacteria can spread to the urinary tract is through sexual intercourse, stool that is wiped on to the vagina, catheters used to empty the bladder and when there is a blockage to the urinary tract.

UTI mostly affects women and pregnant women tend to suffer from this infection mainly due to the various changes occurring to the urinary tract. The growing uterus may also be responsible since an enlarged uterus could cause partial blockage thus pressing the bladder and consequently preventing complete emptying of the bladder. This would lead to stagnant urine and a consequent UTI infection.

Does Pregnancy Increase the Risks of UTI?

Pregnancy hasn’t been directly linked to being vulnerable to asymptomatic bacteriuria. However, it does increase your likelihood of developing a kidney infection. This is because the high progesterone production decreases your ureters muscle tone. This makes the ureters dilate thus preventing a proper urine flow. During pregnancy, the uterus enlarges and ends up compressing the ureters. As a result, it becomes difficult to adequately dispel urine. There’s also the matter of the bladder becoming loose during pregnancy making it more difficult for the pregnant woman to empty it properly. These and more changes increase the risk of UTI in pregnancy.

Symptoms of UTI in Pregnancy

Symptoms of UTI in preganncy vary and different women will experience dissimilar symptoms. Some of the signs to look out are:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Increased frequency in urinating
  • Change in the amount of urine passed and this may be more or less
  • Pain and cramps in the lower abdomen area
  • Pain during sex
  • Foul or strong smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine with odor
  • Incontinence, fever, chills and increased sweating
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Tenderness or pain on the bladder area
  • A combination of nausea, vomiting, pain and fever especially when the bacteria has spread to the kidneys

How Will UTI in Pregnancy Affect My Baby?

If left untreated, UTI may develop into a kidney infection. Kidney infections can indeed harm your unborn child and lead to effects such as low birth weight and early labor. However, if diagnosed and treated early, it should not harm your unborn child.

How to Treat UTI in Pregnancy

UTI can be treated safely with the use of antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic dose for a duration of 3 to 7 days and these antibiotics are considered safe for the mother and her unborn child. If you notice any of the above mentioned UTI symptoms, it is recommended that you visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Click here to learn more remedies for UTI in pregnancy.

How to Prevent UTI in Pregnancy

Your likelihood of developing UTI can be decreased by taking the following measures.

Remedies

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Keep hydrated

Stay hydrated. Water is helpful as it flushes out unwanted bacteria from your system. It’s recommended that you drink no less than 6 glasses of water daily. Also check on the color of your urine to ensure that you are well hydrated.

Take vitamins

Vitamins can help prevent and fight UTI infections by boosting your immune system. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamins that are safe during pregnancy to boost your immune system.

Follow the urge

Avoid holding urine as this lets the bacteria stay within the bladder for a much longer duration hence increasing your chances of developing the infection.

Avoid spicy and processed foods

Avoid sugar and highly processed foods. The sugars in these foods can restrain your white blood cells from fighting bacteria in the body.

Spicy foods may worsen cystitis and you might want to steer clear of foods and drinks that trigger the bacteria.

Maintain proper hygiene

Don’t rub your genitals, instead blot it dry and always wipe from the front to the back to prevent introducing bacteria.

Visit the bathroom before and after sex.

Shower and use douche products wisely

Showers are best but if you must bathe, ensure that the bath tub is clean and disinfected. Avoid frequent bubble baths and limit bathing to shorter periods. Also avoid soaps, powders, creams, sprays and douches as this may worsen the infection. Water is enough to keep your genitals clean.

Wear proper fabrics

It’s preferred that you only wear pantyhose and underwear made from cotton. It also goes without saying that you need to change them daily. Avoid tight clothing such as tights, tight jeans and tight fitting pants. If you must wear tights, ensure that they are clean.

Drink cranberry juice

Studies show that cranberry juice andLingon berry juice can help discourage bacterial infections and reduce bacteria within the urinary tract. Results from a study conducted to test this theory found that women who consumed between 1 and 2 glasses of cranberry juice daily had less recurring UTI infections. That said; it’s important to note that a separate study found no evidence supporting the effectiveness of cranberry juice. You therefore might want to take the cranberry juice recommendation with a grain of salt.

Know when to seek medical help

Vaccines are currently being developed and you might want to ask your doctor for one if available. If you have constipation, seek immediate medical attention.

If the condition is severe and is related to any underlying problem with the kidneys, you could be admitted to the hospital too. Intravenous antibiotics will help you clear the infection by administering the dosage you require.

Bladder infection is also one demonstration of urinary tract infection. You can get more remedies on this bladder infection by watching this video: