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Why pregnant women are so vulnerable to uti and how to prevent urinary tract infections

Updated on December 12, 2011

Urinary tract infections are caused by the clinging of bacteria to the opening of the urethra (in other words…your pee hole.) and begin to reproduce. Most of the time, the bacteria that you can pin as the culprit for your UTI is E.Coli, which occurs naturally in your colon. Urinary tract infections, if left untreated, can travel to the bladder, thereby becoming a bladder infection and then onto the kidney becoming a well… you know, a kidney infection. You can also develop a UTI if you have chlamydia or mycoplasma, which are both sexually transmitted diseases.

UTIs are very common in pregnant women. At least 5% of them can anticipate to have an infection, with at least 1 out of 3 of that group being able to expect an additional infection. Pregnant women that get an infection are more probable to have it travel to her kidneys. This heightened risk is the reason why your doctor will request a urine sample at the largest part, if not all, of your visits.

What makes a pregnant woman so vulnerable to UTIs? Since your internal organs are becoming more and more bunched up every day by your expanding uterus, there are areas in your urinary tract that are being squished and pinched, causing urine to form pools. This stagnant urine attracts more bacteria, since they love to grow in places such as these. Your hormone shifts can also contribute to the bacteria’s increased ability to enter your urinary tract.

How do you know if you have a UTI? Some people, very few of them, have no symptoms. However, most people will report that they feel as if there is extra pressure on their bladder, making them go to the bathroom more often. Some of these bathroom trips will result in only a few drops of urine to pass, and even at such small amounts; it is usually agonizing, accompanied by an strong burning sensation. You may feel shaky, tired, and can even have pain at the site, even when you’re not urinating. If you develop a fever, call your doctor as soon as possible; this is a sign that the infection has reached your kidneys. Other signs of a kidney infection include nausea and vomiting, and pain in the back, side, or below the ribs.

If you are diagnosed with a UTI (which is most often done via urine test), you will probably be given antibiotics. Make sure you finish out the full round of antibiotics, and don’t stop taking them just because you feel like you’re back to normal.

There are some ways to prevent a UTI. These include:

  • Avoiding drinks such as soda, coffee, and alcohol (all of which you should be abstaining from anyway!)
  • Drinking plenty of water; at least 8 glasses a day is recommended.
  • Wipe from front (vagina) to the back (anus) when using the bathroom. This will help thwart the bacteria from the anus reaching the urethra.
  • Wash your vaginal area well, and use the bathroom before and after sex.
  • Don’t attempt to hold your urine in; when you feel the need to go… go.
  • Some doctors believe that eating yogurt can help, thanks to the probiotics it contains. Plus, yogurt is scrumptious (in my opinion) and contains calcium, so it can’t hurt to give it an attempt.

What are the risks to the fetus? If it stays as a UTI, then nothing really. However, if it does manage to make its way to the kidneys, then it can be relatively hazardous. It can cause premature labor, low birth weight and more. Once again, if you have a UTI (or perhaps even if you don’t) and develop a fever (it sometimes goes all the way to 103 degrees), OR have blood in the urine, chills and/or backache, call your practitioner without delay.


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