Urinary Tract Infections during Pregnancy: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Urinary tract infections during pregnancy are a common occurrence that we must pay attention to. It’s essential to have proper information about the factors that cause them, as well as treatment and symptoms.
These infections are quite frequent, yet even more so during pregnancy. In fact, the chances of contracting them are doubled in pregnancy.
It’s important to treat them in a specific way. Failure to do so could cause health problems in both the mother and the unborn child.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections during pregnancy
The symptoms of urinary tract infections depend on where they occur.
When an infection occurs in the bladder, it’s called cystitis. Among its most common symptoms, we can highlight the burning sensation that occurs when urinating.
Dysuria also appears, which is pain when urinating. Another very frequent symptom is the constant need to urinate, even if the bladder is empty. This is called urinary frequency and is a very uncomfortable symptom for pregnant women.
You may also feel pain or a kind of discomfort in the lower part of your pelvis. Among the symptoms of urinary tract infections during pregnancy that most frighten pregnant women is the presence of traces of blood or pus in the urine. This is called hematuria.
Cloudy coloration and an unpleasant odor may also occur.
There are times when the infection develops in the kidneys. Possible symptoms include:
- Fever and chills
- Nausea followed by vomiting
- Weakness and fatigue
What causes urinary tract infections during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a series of changes. These changes in her anatomy and physiology affect the urinary tract and trigger these infections.
The microorganisms that generate urinary tract infections are bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The vast majority of urinary tract infections are caused by E. coli, a very common bacterium.
In terms of urinary tract infections during pregnancy, the mother’s age is also an important factor. The older the pregnant woman is, the greater the risk of infection. In addition, women who already had infections in previous pregnancies are more likely to suffer them again.
How to treat urinary tract infections during pregnancy
Antibiotics are the necessary treatment for cases of urinary tract infections. These should be taken for a period of 7 days. If the infection reappears, your doctor may recommend continuous treatment, which can last until the moment of delivery.
Self-medication involves a high risk that should be avoided. It could lead to a process that makes the infection-causing bacteria stronger instead of killing them. If this happens, the cure for the infection will be more complex.
The treatment of urinary tract infections during pregnancy should be accompanied by sufficient fluid intake. The purpose is to urinate several times a day and facilitate the expulsion of bacteria. Spicy and irritating foods should also be ruled out.
Finally, it’s necessary to maintain good hygiene in the infected zone to avoid the reproduction of the bacteria.
Some actions can prevent urinary tract infections during pregnancy:
- Wearing loose clothing is recommended. These garments should preferably be made of cotton rather than synthetic materials.
- After defecating, you should wipe from front to back. This prevents feces from coming into contact with the urethra and causing infections.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Humidity is paradise for bacteria. That’s why it’s good to keep the infected area as dry as possible. Swimsuits shouldn’t remain on for a long time once you’ve left the water.
- Don’t ignore the urge to urinate.
Of course, if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to go to your doctor. He or she will know how to treat the case in a convenient way so that it doesn’t affect you or your baby.