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Answers About Urinary Tract Infections In Pregnancy

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Answers About Urinary Tract Infections In Pregnancy

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).

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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.

uti
    image source: WebMD.com

    Typically, bacteria can get into the urinary tract system by the following:

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    • 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?

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    • 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.

    urinary tract infection
      image source: WebMD.com

      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.

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      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.

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      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

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      Last Updated on October 7, 2021

      Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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      Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

      In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

      Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

      There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

      Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

      Let’s get started, shall we?

      Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

      Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

      1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

      When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

      Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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      “Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

      2. Teaches the Value of Family

      Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

      According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

      3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

      Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

      “Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

      For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

      4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

      How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

      “If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

      5. Creates a Safe Environment

      If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

      Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

      6. Reduces Stress

      This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

      According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

      So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

      How to Make Family Time Happen

      Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

      1. Family Dinners

      This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

      Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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      “Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

      According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

      As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

      2.  Regular Movie Nights

      This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

      Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

      3. Game Night

      This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

      In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

      So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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      4. Sharing a Hobby

      If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

      Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

      Final Thoughts

      Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

      Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

      The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

      Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

      Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
      [2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
      [3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
      [4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
      [5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
      [6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
      [7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
      [8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
      [9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
      [10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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