Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is increasingly becoming a common health disorder during pregnancy that poses great risks for the mother as well as for the baby. Same as with the non-pregnant women there are two main reasons for the occurrences of UTI in the pregnant women:
1) Due to bacterial growth in the urine, that lead to asymptomatic infection.
2) Due to bacterial infection of urinary tract tissues that causes inflammation, known as symptomatic infection.

Both are complicated infections and require special attention. Also known as bladder infection the UTI’s can strike between 6th to 24th week of pregnancy.


Why Urinary Tract Infection is common in pregnant women?

A urinary tract infection occurs more easily in women than in men because female anatomy makes it easier for the bacteria to cross over to the urinary tract from the vagina or rectal areas as they are located close to one another.

UTI’s afflict pregnant women due to changes in the urinary tract that take place during pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, the uterus which sits on top of the bladder grows with an increase in weight. The increased size and weight of uterus put pressure on the bladder and urinary tract. This can block the path of urine from the bladder, leading to infection.

Also, there are physical changes that appear in the pregnant woman, responsible for UTI. Generally, as early as six weeks through the pregnancy, a pregnant woman experiences ureteral dilation when the urethra starts expanding and continues to expand until delivery.

The larger urinary tract, increased bladder volume, and decreased bladder tone choke the urine pass out, allowing growth of bacteria due to stagnation of urine in the bladder.

The third reason for UTI to occur in a pregnant woman is that during pregnancy their urine gets more concentrated and contains certain types of hormones and sugar. These can cause bacterial growth and lower their immunity.


How to prevent urinary tract infection during pregnancy?

Below are some of the precautions you can take to prevent UTI during pregnancy:

1) Try and empty your bladder frequently, especially before and after sex.
2) Wear only cotton underwear which is dry.
3) Not to use underwear during sleep.
4) Avoiding perfume, spray, etc. in the genital.
5) Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
6) Avoiding use of strong or harsh soaps or body wash near the genital.

In general, antibiotics are used to treat UTI’s during pregnancy. Specialty drugs may be prescribed by the doctor that effectively kills bacteria without harming your pregnancy. If your UTI progresses to infect your kidney there may be a need for stronger antibiotics or IV injections.

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