Urinary Tract Infections During Pregnancy

When you hear the phrase “urinary tract infection” or its acronym, UTI, you’re likely to think about a bladder infection and its accompanying symptoms– such as a frequent urge to urinate and a burning sensation when you do. However it’s not the whole UTI story.

What’s a urinary tract infection?

In truth, you can have a UTI in any part of your urinary tract, which starts at the kidneys, where urine is made; continues through tubes called ureters down to the bladder, where urine builds up till you pee; and ends with the urethra, a short tube that brings the urine outside your body.

UTIs are generally caused by bacteria from your skin, vagina, or anus that enter your urethra and travel upstream. There are numerous typical kinds of UTIs:

Cystitis, or bladder infection. Typically, bacteria drop in your bladder and increase there, causing inflammation and activating those familiar symptoms of a bladder infection. Cystitis is fairly typical amongst sexually active women in between the ages of 20 and 50.

Kidney infection. Bacteria might likewise travel from your bladder up through the ureters to infect one or both kidneys. A kidney infection (likewise called pyelonephritis) is the most typical serious medical problem of pregnancy. The infection can spread to your bloodstream and become dangerous for you.
A kidney infection might likewise have serious effects for your baby. It increases your risk of preterm labor and having a low-birth-weight baby, and it has been connected to an increased risk of fetal or newborn death.

urinary infection during pregnancy

Urinary infection during pregnancy

Asymptomatic bacteriuria. It’s possible to have bacteria in your urinary tract and have no symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria.
When you’re not pregnant, this condition normally does not cause problems and often clears by itself.

During pregnancy, however, asymptomatic bacteriuria that’s left untreated considerably increases your risk of getting a kidney infection and is associated with preterm labor and low birth weight. This is one reason your urine is routinely evaluated during pregnancy.

Does Pregnancy Make Me Most Likely To Get A Urinary Tract Infection?

It’s not clear that pregnancy increases your risk of cystitis, and there’s a reasonable quantity of research revealing that pregnancy does not make you most likely to have asymptomatic bacteriuria. Nevertheless, pregnancy greatly increases the risk of getting a kidney infection.

Here’s why: Higher levels of the hormone progesterone reduce the muscle tone of the ureters (televisions in between the kidneys and the bladder), causing them to dilate and slowing the circulation of urine. Plus, as your uterus enlarges it may compress the ureters, making it that far more hard for urine to flow through them as quickly and as easily as usual.

Your bladder also loses tone during pregnancy. It becomes harder to totally clear your bladder, and your bladder ends up being more susceptible to reflux, a condition where some urine recedes up the ureters toward the kidneys.

The outcome of these changes is that it takes longer for urine to travel through your urinary tract, offering bacteria more time to multiply and take hold prior to being flushed out, and it likewise ends up being much easier for the bacteria to take a trip as much as your kidneys, according to iytmed.com. What’s more, during pregnancy your urine becomes less acidic and more likely to contain glucose, both which increase the potential for bacterial growth.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bladder Infection During Pregnancy?

Symptoms of a bladder infection (cystitis) differ from woman to woman. Typical symptoms include:

  • Pain, discomfort, or burning when urinating and possibly during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic discomfort or lower abdominal pain (typically simply above the pubic bone).
  • A frequent or unmanageable urge to pee, even when there’s very little urine in the bladder.

You may also discover that your urine is foul smelling or looks cloudy. You might see blood in it as well. You might run a low-grade fever, but most of the time, your temperature will stay normal.

Considering that the frequent urge to pee prevails during pregnancy, it may be hard to understand for sure whether you have cystitis, specifically if your symptoms are mild. If you think you might have an infection, be sure to call your healthcare provider so your urine can be tested.

What Are the Symptoms of a Kidney Infection?

If you have any signs pointing to a possible kidney infection, you have to get medical attention instantly. Symptoms typically come on rather suddenly and commonly include:

  • A high fever (often with shaking, chills, or sweats).
  • Pain in your lower back or side simply under your ribs, on one or both sides, and perhaps in your abdomen.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

You might also observe blood or pus in your urine and may have some symptoms of cystitis also.

What Happens If I Have A Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy But Do Not Have Symptoms?

Asymptomatic bacteriuria is related to preterm birth and low birth weight. And if the bacteriuria isn’t really treated, your chance of cultivating a kidney infection might be as high as 40 percent. However, with appropriate treatment your risk decreases considerably, to between 1 and 4 percent.

To find out whether there’s bacteria in your urinary tract, your practitioner will gather urine at your first prenatal visit and send it to a lab for screening, whether you have symptoms or not. If this initial urine culture is negative, your chances of establishing a UTI later in pregnancy are small.

If the culture is positive, you’ll be treated with oral antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy. Taking the complete course of antibiotics, normally for a week, should clear the infection.

After treatment, you’ll be tested again to make sure the infection is gone. (If it’s not, you’ll be pulled back using a various antibiotic.) Repeat urine cultures ought to be done at routine periods throughout your pregnancy to make sure you don’t have another infection. If the bacteriuria repeats, you’ll be treated once again and likely be placed on a continuous low dose of antibiotics for the remainder of your pregnancy to avoid yet another recurrence.

What’s The Treatment For A Bladder Infection During Pregnancy?

If you develop a bladder infection (cystitis) during your pregnancy, the drill is comparable, though you may be provided a slightly much shorter course of oral antibiotics. The antibiotics will most likely eliminate your symptoms within a few days, but it’s important to finish the entire course that your caregiver prescribed in order to get rid of all the bacteria in your urinary tract.

You’ll be evaluated after treatment and occasionally afterwards (along with whenever symptoms recur) and pulled back if necessary. If you keep getting bladder infections, you’ll need to take a low dose of antibiotics daily for prevention.

What’s The Treatment For A Kidney Infection?

If you establish a kidney infection during pregnancy, you’ll be hospitalized and started on intravenous fluid and antibiotics, and you and your baby will be thoroughly monitored. Your caretakers will be assessing a variety of things, including your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, breathing, and capability to make urine; your baby’s heart rate; and whether you have any signs of premature labor.

The length of hospitalization for a kidney infection differs, depending upon your individual situation. If, after an initial 12- to 24-hour assessment, it’s clear that you have a mild case, you’re responding well to treatment, and preterm labor is not an issue, your caregiver might decide to discharge you from the hospital and switch you to oral antibiotics for the remainder of your treatment.

On the other hand, if you have a severe case, you’ll need to stay in the healthcare facility for additional treatment and tracking, and you won’t be released up until 24 to 48 hours after your temperature go back to typical and you not have any symptoms.

As soon as you finish your treatment, you’ll be put on a program of low-dose antibiotics for the remainder of your pregnancy to assist avoid another infection. Without everyday suppressive therapy, your risk of getting another kidney infection is very high.

I’m Pregnant: What Can I Do To Prevent Getting A Urinary Tract Infection?

Take these actions to decrease your chances of getting a urinary tract infection:

  • Drink plenty of water, a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses a day.
  • Do not overlook the urge to pee. And try to clear your bladder completely when you urinate.
  • After a defecation, wipe yourself from front to back to avoid bacteria in the stool from getting near the urethra.
  • Keep your genital area clean with mild soap and water.
  • Clean your genital area and pee before and after sexual relations.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Research studies show that cranberry juice– and its relative, lingonberry juice– can reduce bacteria levels and discourage new bacteria from taking hold in the urinary tract. (Drinking cranberry juice will not cure an existing infection, however, so if you’re having symptoms, you still have to see your practitioner immediately to get a prescription for antibiotics.).
  • Avoid feminine hygiene products (sprays or powders) and strong soaps that can irritate your urethra and genital areas, making them a better breeding place for bacteria. And don’t use douches during pregnancy.



Updated: October 1, 2016 — 3:08 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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