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Answers About Urinary Tract Infections In Pregnancy

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.

      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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      Published on September 21, 2018

      11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

      11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

      Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

      Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

      If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

      For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

      1. Find your community and ask for help

      As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

      Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

      Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

      After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

      If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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      2. Make peace with the past

      Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

      You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

      3. Make plans and set goals

      The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

      In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

      Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

      4. Look for role models

      A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

      It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

      5. Rethink your priorities

      Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

      Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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      Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

      6. Make time for me time

      Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

      If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

      Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

      Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

      7. Stay organized

      With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

      Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

      8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

      Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

      When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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      For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

      Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

      9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

      Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

      You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

      Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

      10. Live within your means

      When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

      If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

      Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

      After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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      Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

      11. Spend quality time with your kids

      The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

      Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

      When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

      Final thoughts

      Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

      Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

      Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

      Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

      Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

      Reference

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