What if I Get a UTI When I’m Pregnant?

A urinary tract infection happens in the body's urinary system, which includes your:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureter (tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder)
  • Bladder
  • Urethra (a short tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body)

Bacteria cause most UTIs. Anyone can get one, and it’s most common in women, especially if they are pregnant.

If you think you might have a UTI, tell your doctor. With proper care, you and your baby should be fine. But you need to make sure it doesn’t affect your kidneys.

Most of these infections are limited to the bladder and urethra. But sometimes they can lead to a kidney infection. If they do, UTIs may lead to preterm labor (giving birth too early) and low birth weight.


If you have a UTI, you may have:

  • An urgent need to pee, or urinating more often
  • Trouble with peeing
  • A burning sensation or cramps in your lower back or lower belly
  • A burning feeling when you pee
  • Urine that looks cloudy or has an odor


Why Are UTIs More Common During Pregnancy?

Hormones are one reason. In pregnancy, they cause changes in the urinary tract, and that makes women more likely to get infections.

Also, your growing uterus presses on your bladder. That makes it hard for you to let out all the urine in your bladder. Leftover urine is a likely source of infection.


You’ll take a urine test. Your doctor will test it for bacteria and red and white blood cells. A “urine culture” may also show what kind of bacteria are in the urine.


You’ll take antibiotics for 3-7 days or as your doctor recommends. If your infection makes you feel uncomfortable, your doctor will probably start your treatment before you get your urine test results.

Your symptoms should go away in 3 days. Take all of your medication on schedule, anyway. Don’t stop it early, even if your symptoms fade.

Many common antibiotics -- amoxicillin, erythromycin, and penicillin, for example -- are considered safe for pregnant women. Your doctor wouldn’t prescribe others, such as tetracycline, that may lead to liver problems and affect the developing baby's teeth.

How to Avoid UTIs

You can:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Wipe yourself from front to back.
  • Empty your bladder shortly before and after sex.
  • If you need a lubricant when you have sex, choose a water-based one.
  • Don't douche.
  • Avoid strong feminine deodorants or soaps that cause irritation.
  • Wash your genital area with warm water before sex.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Don’t wear pants that are too tight.


WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 1, 2017



American Association of Family Physicians.

American Pregnancy Association.

Mayo Clinic.

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