Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, most notably in the uterus. As it grows and becomes heavier, it can make it difficult for urine to leave the bladder and flow through the urethra. Unfortunately, this can result in a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, with guidance from your gynecologist, it’s possible to prevent or quickly treat a UTI and avoid any pregnancy complications.
A Guide to Dealing With UTIs While Pregnant
When should you worry about developing a UTI?
A UTI can develop at any point throughout your pregnancy, but it’s often between weeks six and 24 when you are most at risk. During this time, your body is being flooded with hormones that alter your urinary system—kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra—while your growing uterus is putting extra pressure on your bladder.
This combination makes it increasingly difficult for urine to completely leave the urinary tract, and any that gets trapped becomes a source of infection.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
The most common symptoms include an urgency to urinate, going to the bathroom more often than normal, and a burning or cramping feeling in the lower back or stomach. You might also notice your urine has a cloudy color and has a much stronger odor than normal.
As the infection spreads to the kidneys, blood might appear in your urine. You may also develop back pain, even when not urinating, along with chills, nausea, fever, and vomiting.
What is the treatment for a UTI?
Your gynecologist will perform a urinalysis test for bacteria and red and white blood cells. They will likely also perform a urine culture to determine the exact type of bacteria.
Most often, a baby-safe antibiotic will be prescribed to treat the infection. If caught and treated early on, the infection shouldn’t cause any harm to your baby’s development.
How can you prevent a bladder infection?
Start by drinking six to eight glasses of water and one or two eight-ounce glasses of unsweetened cranberry juice every day. Also, reduce or eliminate refined foods, caffeine, and sugar, and talk to your gynecologist about taking Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, and zinc.
When you feel the need to urinate, go immediately and empty your bladder completely. Afterward, blot the area dry by wiping from front to back. When cleaning, avoid strong-smelling soaps, douches, and antiseptic creams. Also, wear cotton underwear and change them every day for improved airflow and hygiene.
If you are expecting, ensure your pregnancy is in good hands by turning to the gynecologists at Greece OB-GYN, LLP. For over 30 years, this gynecology practice has been committed to providing expert health care to women of all ages in Rochester, NY, and the surrounding areas. They provide everything from Pap smears to family planning. Call (585) 225-6680 to schedule an appointment, and ask about their available evening hours. Visit their website to learn more about their services.