Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system of the body. The urinary system consists of the kidneys, uterus, bladder, and urethra.
The main cause of UTI is a bacterial infection. The infection can be experienced by anyone but is more common in women. Although UTI isn’t fatal, it can be a cause of great concern in pregnant women.
If you think you’re suffering from UTI when pregnant, do consult your doctor as soon as possible. Although the infection is mostly found in the urethra and bladder, it may also lead to infection of the kidneys, which can cause preterm labor and low birth weight.
Symptoms of UTI
UTI has the following symptoms:
- The urge to pee all the time
- Difficulty in peeing
- Burning sensation while peeing or lower abdomen/back cramps
- Cloudy urine that smells
- Blood in the urine
If your UTI has caused an infection in the kidney, you will have fever, nausea, one-sided upper back pain, and vomiting. Consult your doctor right away if that is the case. If left untreated, the infection can spread to your bloodstream, which is life-threatening.
UTI Prevalence in Pregnancy
One reason for UTI during pregnancy is the fluctuation of hormones. This causes changes in the urinary tract, and that leads to infections. When there are hormonal changes, the pee goes back to the ureters from the bladder (vesicoureteral reflux), which causes UTI. In addition, pregnant women have a growing uterus that presses against the bladder, making it hard for them to excrete out all the urine. The leftover urine is the causative factor of UTI.
Treatment of UTI During Pregnancy
If the infection causes severe discomfort, treatment should be prescribed. The symptoms may relieve itself in three days. But pregnant women must finish the prescribed course even if they feel better already.
Complications of UTI in Pregnant Women
UTI complications may cause the following in pregnant women.
- Severe infection
- Long term infection
- Preterm labor
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome
While UTI in pregnant women can cause multiple complications, it can be prevented by taking precautions. By drinking enough water every day, wiping yourself from front to back after urinating, and wearing loose and cotton underwear, UTI may be prevented.