It seems that there are so many things to worry about when you are pregnant, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are definitely a cause for concern. UTIs are common in women, but for pregnant women, the risk is higher. If you suspect that you have a UTI during pregnancy, it’s important to seek confirmation and get treated in order to avoid any complications.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary system, which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureter, and urethra. Bacteria are naturally present in the body and can typically be found in the lower bowel, along with stool. The problem arises when the bacteria finds its way into the urinary system.
There are several ways bacteria can enter the urinary tract. Sexual intercourse can cause it, and pressure caused by an enlarged uterus during pregnancy can be another factor. In addition, wiping from back to front can cause bacteria to enter the vagina, as can having a catheter in place to help you empty your bladder.
Do Pregnant Women Get More UTIs?
There is some debate as to whether pregnant women are more susceptible to UTIs. Some research suggests that UTIs in pregnancy are more common, but anyone can suffer from a UTI at any time – including men.
One reason pregnant women may be at higher risk for UTIs is because hormones change the urinary tract during pregnancy, making it more susceptible to infection. Also, as the unborn baby grows, the uterus presses against the bladder. 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, leading to infection in the kidney.
How Do You Know If You Have A UTI?
If you have never had a UTI before, and you only have a mild infection now, it may be difficult to distinguish whether or not you actually do have an infection. However, some common symptoms to look for include feeling the need to pee more frequently than normal, finding that you cannot pee correctly even though it feels like you want to, feeling a burning sensation when you pee, and feeling a cramp in your lower back or lower abdomen. If your urine appears cloudy or smells strange, that may also be a sign of a UTI.
Urinary tract infections during pregnancy are often not serious, but they should never be taken lightly, as untreated UTIs can lead to more serious health issues. Although rare, UTIs can cause problems with the unborn baby and lead to a low birth weight or even preterm labor. Therefore, if you suspect that you have a UTI, it’s important to get it treated as soon as possible.
How Are UTIs Treated?
If you have a UTI during pregnancy, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. Don’t worry about these medications harming your unborn baby; they are safe to take. It’s important to take the full course of antibiotics, and then you will have to give another urine sample to make sure that the antibiotics have treated the infection.
How Can You Avoid Getting UTIs During Pregnancy?
Prevention is always better than cure, and there are several things that you can do to avoid getting UTIs during pregnancy. These include:
1. Drinking enough water: Drink around eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
2. Peeing when you feel the need: Don’t hold your pee!
3. Wiping front to back: This applies more if you have opened your bowels at the same time.
4. Cleaning your genital region with mild soap and water.
5. Drinking cranberry juice: This is great for bringing down the levels of bacteria in your body.
6. Avoiding feminine hygiene products: These may cause irritation and lead to infection.
In conclusion, urinary tract infections during pregnancy can be a cause for concern. However, if you suspect that you have a UTI, getting it treated as soon as possible can avoid complications. With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can also reduce your risk of developing a UTI during pregnancy. Remember to always seek medical advice if you suspect that you have a UTI or any other health issue during pregnancy.