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Urinary Tract Infections in Pregnancy

Urinary Tract Infections in Pregnancy

Getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) while pregnant isn't all that fun, but the good news is that it's completely treatable. The treatment of pregnant women for UTIs differs from that of the general population due to an increased risk of complications, and early detection is important.

If you've previously had UTIs or any other condition that increases your risk of developing one, screening for bacteria in your urinary tract is a routine part of your prenatal care. If you're pregnant and think you might have a UTI but haven't consulted your healthcare provider, you should do so as soon as possible.

What happens if a urinary tract infection is not treated?

The most common type of UTI occurs in the lower urinary tract and infects the urethra and bladder. The infection can spread to the upper urinary tract and the kidneys if left untreated. Symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection can get significantly worse and include back pain, nausea, and fever. 

Will a UTI affect my baby or pregnancy?

With early detection and treatment, urinary tract infections will not harm your baby. However, UTIs can worsen if left untreated and can cause high blood pressure, premature birth and low birth weight. Always consult your healthcare provider if you suspect you may have UTI or symptoms. They will know how to proceed.  

Do I have a UTI?

Identifying a UTI can be difficult because frequent trips to the bathroom are a natural part of pregnancy. Here are some symptoms to look out for that may indicate an infection:

  • Contractions and/or abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Small amounts of urine when using the washroom
  • Pain when urinating
  • Traces of blood in the urine
  • Urine that is dark, cloudy or strong-smelling 
  • Feeling cold
  • Sudden urinary incontinence

How are UTIs identified?

Urinary tract infections may be present even if no symptoms are present and require prompt treatment. A Urinalysis (urine test) is the standard method for detecting UTIs. Other conditions like Asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) or dehydration could cause some of the same symptoms as a UTI. Consult a health care professional, and they will determine a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Can I have sex if I have a UTI?

Because UTIs are not sexually transmitted, you can have sex while you have/or are being treated for a UTI.

What can I do to prevent a UTI?

There are several things you can do to reduce the likelihood of an infection:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Take showers, not baths
  • Use the bathroom right after sex
  • Urinate when you feel you need to, don't wait
  • Completely empty your bladder
  • Wipe from front to back
  • Good personal hygiene
  • Avoid harsh soaps

How do I know if my UTI is gone?

After you have finished your antibiotics, your healthcare provider will often ask you to perform an additional urine test to confirm whether or not the bacteria is still present.

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