Various changes increase the likelihood of UTIs, or urinary tract infections, during pregnancy. The first change is hormonal. During pregnancy, your urine is more concentrated with sugar, protein, and hormones. The other change is your growing uterus. As the uterus expands, it presses on your bladder and causes retention of some urine in the bladder when you pee. The retained urine can cause UTIs. Apart from the changes during pregnancy, you can still get UTIs from other common causes including E. coli and other bacteria from your stool, sexual activity, and group B strep that is present in most women’s colon and vagina all the time.
Symptoms and Major Concerns
You will likely experience a burning sensation during urination, intense urge to pee, frequent urination, blood in your urine and colored or smelly urine. However, frequent urination is common during pregnancy and may not be related to UTIs. You may also experience pain in the abdomen and a fever. Untreated UTIs during pregnancy is associated with risks to both the fetus and mother. The common risks include spread of the UTI to your kidneys, premature birth, low birth weight, severe and long-term infection, anemia, and in extreme cases, death of the fetus. UTIs caused by group B strep can be transmitted to your newborn. While this may sound scary, most of these symptoms occur long after you’ve ignored a number of unpleasant side effects for some time.
UTI Diagnosis and Treatment During Pregnancy
A UTI is diagnosed through a urine test that tests for bacteria and the presence of white and red blood cells in your urine. Also, if you suspect to be infected with a UTI, contact your doctor with your symptoms and have them advise you on the course to take. After your doctor determines the type of bacteria in your urine, they will prescribe the necessary antibiotics suitable for pregnancy. The antibiotic will clear your tract in 3 days and all patients are urged to always complete their doses and take their medication as scheduled by their doctor. Your doctor will administer an IV antibiotic during labor if your infection is caused by group B strep bacteria. Although UTIs are high prevalent during pregnancies, you can still try to avoid them by practicing proper feminine hygiene, safe sexual activity, drinking a lot of water, and peeing often to relieve your bladder as much as possible. Pregnant women are also advised to avoid spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, and citrus juices as they tend to irritate the bladder.
Do you have more questions about preventing or treating UTIs while pregnant in Salem Oregon? Talk to our staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!