A urinary tract infection (UTI), also called bladder infection, is a bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract. Pregnant women are at increased risk for UTI's starting in week 6 through week 24.
UTI's are more common during pregnancy because of changes in the urinary tract. The uterus sits directly on top of the bladder. As the uterus grows, its increased weight can block the drainage of urine from the bladder, causing an infection.
If you have a urinary tract infection, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
When bacteria spreads to the kidneys you may experience: back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
If the UTI goes untreated, it may lead to a kidney infection. Kidney infections may cause early labor and low birth weight. If your doctor treats a urinary tract infection early and properly, the UTI will not cause harm to your baby.
A urinalysis and a urine culture can detect a UTI throughout pregnancy.
UTI's can be safely treated with antibiotics during pregnancy. Urinary tract infections are most commonly treated by antibiotics. Doctors usually prescribe a 3-7 day course of antibiotics that is safe for you and the baby.
Call your doctor if you have fever, chills, lower stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, contractions, or if after taking medicine for three days, you still have a burning feeling when you urinate.
You may do everything right and still experience a urinary tract infection, but you can reduce the likelihood by doing the following:
Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association.