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Urinary Tract Infection – UTI – During Pregnancy

Urinary tract infection or UTI as it is commonly termed is essentially urine that has bacteria in it. It causes a burning sensation when you pee. UTI is quite a common occurrence in pregnancy; as high as 1 in 10 pregnant women suffer from this condition. Some women are more prone than others; sometimes you can’t even tell that you have it.

What Causes UTI..

  • Hormone level, in this case progesterone, shoots up which relaxes the urinary tract and bladder
  • This causes urine to remain longer in your system
  • This becomes a perfect breeding ground where the bacteria has the chance to accumulate and grow in number
  • In the later part of pregnancy UTI increases when the growing uterus presses on your bladder and tract, thereby impeding the urine flow

How To Tell You Have UTI..

  • Basically, the bacterium from the rectum travels up the urethra into your bladder where it stays and multiplies.
  • Sometimes, cystitis, a type of bladder infection sets in
  • Cystitis is a lower urinary tract infection; it is painful, uncomfortable and when you pee it causes a burning sensation which is sometimes accompanied by some form of pelvic discomfort or abdominal pain
  • The urine will appear cloudy with a foul smell and the urge to pee is uncontrollable even if the quantity is little
  • There are times when you can’t even tell if you have an infection; it is only traceable when you go for routine urine tests.

At the start of your pregnancy, during your first prenatal test your urine culture will be taken and analyzed. If you test positive during any of your tests, you will be treated with antibiotics. If UTI is left untreated for any reason, things can get really worse. The chance of developing kidney infection becomes very probable and the likelihood for preterm labor or a low birthweight baby increases when you are down with this infection. The symptoms include chills, fever, nausea, abdominal or back pain and cloudy or bloody urine. FYI, UTI can also develop after the baby is born; it happens because of the bruising during an assisted delivery or if you had a catheter inserted.

You Can Avoid UTI..

  • Drink plenty of water, at least 8 oz glasses every day, to keep the bladder functioning well
  • Drink cranberry juice as it contains preventive properties which disables bacterial growth and prevents the possibility of UTI
  • Empty your bladder regularly and avoid holding on until the last moment
  • Don’t douche
  • Empty your bladder totally and don’t ignore the urge to pee, even if the quantity is scant. Lean forward to ensure your bladder is as empty as possible
  • Wipe yourself from front to back to prevent bacteria from the rectum to the urethra
  • Keep your genital areas clean by cleansing with a mild soap or cleanser and water; avoid using anything harsh and scented, scented powders and sprays as these backfire and cause irritation to the urethra instead.
  • Beverages and fizzy drinks contain caffeine which induces cystitis like symptoms during pregnancy. It will be worth the while to avoid them for a while especially if your prone to this problem


In suspected cases, mid-stream urine will be taken and sent for culture. In positive situations, a one week course of antibiotics will be prescribed. Meanwhile avoid over the counter medications. UTI can reoccur despite antibiotic treatment. Seek treatment once again.


Yeast infections during pregnancy are common but fortunately can be treated easily. Also known as Candida, this vaginal infection is caused by an organism called Candida albicans. The main reason for its high occurrence is the high levels of estrogen typically found during pregnancy. Other reasons for fungus to thrive include diabetes and oral contraceptive pills.

A Little Background On Candida Or Yeast Infections

  • Thrush, candidiasis or yeast infections are some names used for the most common and irritating vaginal irritation.
  • Though Candida is present to some extent in the vagina of most women, infections develop when the natural balance of microorganisms become upset causing yeast to flourish.
  • It thrives well in the relatively high sugar content of the cells lining the vagina during pregnancy. Yeast grows very well in sugary environments. The most common change during pregnancy is a drop in the acidity level in the vaginal area which causes an increase in sugar storage in the vaginal cell walls.
  • It may be a new infection contracted during pregnancy or one that was lying dormant for a while only to flare up later.
  • Candida albicans is typically a one cell fungus and under normal circumstances it stays friendly and harmless. Varied reasons such as pregnancy, diabetes, antibiotics treatment etc. causes candida to multiply and change into long branches of yeast cells.

Causes Of Yeast Infections During Pregnancy

  • Pregnancy and diabetes cause the sugar and ph content of the vagina to rise
  • Women who take hormones inclusive of birth control pills or steroid drugs
  • Daily diet of refined sugar
  • Tight, synthetic clothing around the vaginal area promotes its growth
  • Several rounds of antibiotics especially if taken close together

Typical Symptoms To Deal With Yeast Infections During Pregnancy

  • Severe itching and curdy, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
  • Swelling, redness and irritation of the inner and outer vaginal lips
  • The discharge smells bread-like, fermented yeast
  • Discharge may also be thin and mucoid
  • Painful sex
  • Painful urination due to irritation of the urethra
  • Irritation can be distressing enough to cause sleepless nights
  • Some women have no symptoms at all

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing around your vagina: tight jeans, pants, panties or leotards
  • Keep the vaginal area clean and dry. Wipe from front to back. Consider using baby wipes when in public places
  • Wear 100% cotton underwear or other natural fibered material around your vagina; avoid nylon and other synthetic ones
  • Avoid using dusting powders since they are mostly starch based and starch encourages the growth of fungus cultures
  • Avoid antibiotics unless very necessary
  • Avoid scented toilet paper and using vaginal deodorants or sprays
  • Avoid douching unless deemed necessary
  • In terms of dietary changes, drink plenty of water to wash out toxins from your body. Include quality fat into your diet e.g. olive oil, flax seed oil. Avoid depending too much on a diet rich in yeast-based, sugary foods and dairy products. Yeast thrives on sugar and that includes artificial sweeteners

Do Not Self-Treat

  • Consult your doctor that you are indeed having a yeast infection because self-diagnosing can be a misdiagnosis. Many people resort to self-treatment because of the easily available OTC medications. If you are pregnant work with your doctor instead of trying home remedies or OTC medicines.
  • Procedure is fairly simple and inexpensive: a pelvic exam followed by an inspection of the vaginal discharge to check on the fungi is carried out by your doctor
  • Treatment is straightforward; a pessary is placed in the vagina and sometimes cream can be smeared on the sore spots. Medication is mostly
  • Some people prefer home treatments like vinegar douches, inserting yogurt or acidophilus capsules into the vagina. These help to lower the vaginal ph. These remedies are probably not harmful but should the symptoms persist then a visit to the doctor becomes necessary.

A Word On Antibiotics

An antibiotic course for any infection needs to be completed. The problem with antibiotics is it kills both the friendly and harmful bacteria. The infection only subsides once you finish the course of antibiotics. As a precaution, probiotics should be taken regularly several times a day during and for about 2 weeks after finishing the course. This will help keep yeast infections at bay.


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