Urinary Tract Infection in Pregnancy

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common in pregnant women. The infection can occur in any part of the urinary system, which includes the:  

  • Kidneys  
  • Ureters; the tube from each kidney that carries urine to the bladder  
  • Bladder, which stores urine until you are ready to void  
  • Urethra, the tube that takes urine from the bladder to the exterior  

UTI is more common in pregnancy because of the following reasons:  

  • Pregnancy hormones cause changes in the urinary tract that makes infection more easy, these include relaxation of the muscles that usually tighten the junctions between these structures  
  • Pregnancy may increase the amount of sugar or protein in your urine, increasing the chances of bugs growing and multiplying faster  
  • The urine in a pregnant woman is less acidic, creating a favorable environment for bugs to thrive   
  • Pressure on the bladder by the growing uterus may prevent you from voiding completely, increasing the risk of infecting the leftover urine

Symptoms of UTI  

  • An urgent need to urinate  
  • Urinating more often than usual  
  • Painful urination  
  • Having trouble voiding completely during urination  
  • Burning sensation in the lower back or lower belly during urination  
  • Foul-smelling urine  
  • Cloudy urine  
  • Streaks of blood in urine  
  • Coke-colored urine  
  • Fever  
  • Nausea  
  • Vomiting  

Treatment of UTI in Pregnancy  

Treatment of urinary tract infections generally includes antibiotics to clear out the bugs; your healthcare provider may also recommend:   

  • Drinking lots of water to flush out the bacteria  
  • Urinating when the need arises  
  • Getting plenty of rest to help support your body’s immunity  
  • Drinking cranberry juice is said to help with the symptoms of UTI.

Complications of UTI in Pregnancy   

Left untreated, UTI in pregnancy may cause serious complications, including:  

  • Sepsis, the term for severe illness from an infection. This tends to occur if the infection spreads to the kidneys and blood  
  • Preterm labor  
  • Rarely, stillbirth  

Preventing Urinary Tract Infection  

Since the risk of UTI is higher in pregnancy, pregnant women can take some steps to lower their risks. These include:  

  • Drink plenty of water  
  • Wash genital areas and anus carefully with clean water  
  • Avoid holding urine, and urinate when the need arises  
  • Urinate before and after sex to prevent incubating bugs  
  • Attend routine prenatal checks, where doctors screen for urinary problems   

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