Urinary tract infection (UTI) is common during pregnancy. If left untreated, it can cause serious pregnancy complications but fortunately, it can be easily treated. A pregnant woman is susceptible to UTI because of the changes that occur in the urinary tract during pregnancy.
The womb, also called uterus sits directly on the bladder. The risk of UTI usually increases around week 6 of pregnancy up to week 24.
What are the symptoms of UTIs during pregnancy?
Women experience symptoms of UTIs differently, nevertheless, if you have a UTI while pregnant, some of the symptoms you may likely experience include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Blood or mucus in the urine
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Intense urge to urinate yet expelling little amount of urine
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Cloudy urine with foul or especially strong odor
What are the complications of UTIs during pregnancy?
If left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and this can be dangerous. It can lead to premature labor and delivery. It can also cause low birth weight.
This makes it very important for you to see your doctor immediately, once you notice any of these symptoms. Once you are diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor would provide appropriate treatment for you
Are there things I can do to reduce my risk of a UTI during pregnancy?
To help reduce your chance of having a UTI during pregnancy, here are some of the things you should do:
- Do not hold your urine. Each time you have the urge to visit the bathroom, do so immediately and ensure you completely empty your bladder
- Drink plenty of water daily and eat healthy foods
- Do not use feminine hygiene products like perfumed or scented soaps, sprays and powders
- Wear cotton underwear, keep your vaginal area dry and do not wear tight pants
- Make sure you urinate before and after sexual intercourse
- Always wipe from front to back each time you use the bathroom