It seems that there are so many things to worry about when you are pregnant. Of course, this is also offset by all the good, like the delivery of your baby and the first time you hold them in your arms. If urinary tract infections in pregnancy is a worry to you, read on to get the answers to questions that will help put your mind at ease.
Are you worried you might have a urinary tract infection? Do you know what a UTI is? There are so many questions about the condition, so where do you get the answers you are looking for? Right here of course. If you suspect that you have a urinary infection in pregnancy it is important that you seek confirmation and get treated in order to avoid any complications.
First off, a UTI is basically an infection affecting the urinary system, which is made up of the bladder, the kidneys, the ureter (which is the tube taking urine from the kidneys down to the bladder), and the urethra (the tube taking urine out of the body).
Of course, you may have many questions about urinary tract infections in pregnancy. To ease your worries because here are some of the most common questions and answers.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)?
One of the most common causes of UTIs is bacteria getting into your urine. Of course, bacteria are naturally present in the body and can be typically found in the lower bowel, along with stool. Problems begin when the bacteria sneaks its way into the urinary tract. Generally, there are several ways that it can do this.
Typically, bacteria can get into the urinary tract system by the following:
- Sexual intercourse.
- A blockage of the urinary passage, like pressure caused by an enlargement of the uterus during pregnancy.
- Wiping the vagina from back to front, more so if you have just emptied your bowels. Always wipe front to back, otherwise you risk getting stool into the vagina.
- Having a catheter in place to help you empty your bladder.
Do Pregnant Women Get More Urinary Tract Infections?
Are pregnant women more likely to suffer from a urinary tract infection? This is a question that is debatable as there has been research suggesting that urinary tract infections in pregnancy are more common. On the other hand, anyone can suffer from the infection at any time – men included.
The risk; therefore, may be higher when pregnant due to the fact that when pregnant the hormones change the urinary tract, leaving you open to infections. Along with this, as the unborn baby grows the uterus also grows, pressing against the bladder. If you have been pregnant before you will know that this can cause you to feel as though you want to empty the bladder more frequently, but it may also mean that you might not be able to empty the bladder completely. This leads to urine being left in the bladder where it becomes stagnant, resulting in infection in the kidney.
How Do I Know If I Have A Urinary Tract Infection?
If you have never had a urinary tract infection before and you only have a mild infection now, it may be difficult to distinguish whether or not you actually do have an infection. So, how can you tell and what are the main symptoms to look for?
- Finding that you need to pee more frequently than normal. Of course, as the baby grows you may find the need to pee more often as the baby presses down on the bladder. In this case, you should get advice because if it is an infection and you leave it, it will get worse and could cause complications.
- Finding that you cannot pee correctly even though it feels you want to.
- Feeling a sensation of burning when you pee.
- Feeling a cramp in your lower back or your lower abdomen.
- Your pee has taken on a cloudy appearance or it smells strange.
In any of the above cases, you should seek medical advice and possibly have a urine test to find out if you have a urinary tract infection so you can get treatment.
Do Urinary Tract Infections Cause Serious Health Problems?
When you’re pregnant there is always the worry that an infection can cause problems for your unborn baby. A UTI in pregnancy is one infection that women may worry about.
For the most part, your worries will be unfounded as a UTI in pregnancy will rarely cause serious health issues. That said, it should never be taken lightly since a urinary tract infection may lead to getting a kidney infection, which may be more serious. This may cause problems with the unborn baby and lead to a low birth weight or even preterm labor. In other words, your baby may be born early – often, well before the due date.
If I Think I Have A Urinary Tract Infection, What Should I Do?
If you believe that you have a urinary tract infection and you are pregnant you should seek advice from your doctor and get it treated sooner rather than later. Your doctor will ask you for a urine sample and test it.
This test is also generally made at your very first pre-natal visit to find out your chances of getting a UTI later on.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Treated?
If the test reveals that you have a UTI your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. You shouldn’t worry about these hurting your unborn baby since they will be safe to take. You should take the full course and then you will have to give another urine sample to make sure that the antibiotics have treated the infection.
How Can I Avoid Getting Urinary Tract Infections?
There are several things that you can do to avoid getting a UTI in pregnancy, or indeed at any other time. They are as follows:
- Make sure that you drink enough water. Around eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day.
- Never hold onto your pee, go and pee when you feel the need.
- Wipe front to back after you use the bathroom. This applies more if you have opened your bowels at the same time.
- Make sure that you clean your genital region with only mild soap and water.
- Cranberry juice is great for bringing down the levels of bacteria in the body. If you like this beverage, drink it more.
- Try to avoid any feminine hygiene products because they may cause irritation.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com