A urinary tract infection happens in the body's urinary system, which includes your:
- Ureters (tubes that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder)
- Urethra (a short tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body)
Bacteria cause most UTIs. Anyone can get one, but they're most common in women, and concerning if you're are pregnant.
If you think you might have a UTI, tell your doctor. With proper care, you and your baby should be fine.
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 peeing 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 can be a 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 be checked. It shows 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 ciprofloxacin (Cipro), sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, or trimethoprim (Primsol, Proloprim, Trimpex), that can affect your baby’s development.
How to Avoid UTIs
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Wipe yourself from front to back when you go to the bathroom.
- 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.