How to tell if you have a UTI while pregnant even if you're not exhibiting symptoms
- Common symptoms of a
UTIduring pregnancyinclude painful urination, cloudy urine, and abdominal pain.
- UTIs can strike at any time during pregnancy, but they are more common during the second and third trimesters.
- To treat a UTI while pregnant, a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic like Nitrofurantoin, Cephalexin, or Cefuroxime.
- Visit Insider's Health Reference library for more advice.
There are plenty of infections that you can develop during pregnancy, but the most common are urinary tract infections (UTI). It affects up to 10% of pregnant women. Hormonal changes, particularly the rise of progesterone levels, increases the risk of developing a UTI.
"If you are pregnant and think you have a UTI, you should talk to your prenatal care provider," says Kristyn M. Brandi, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive
Symptoms of UTIs in pregnancyYou may have a UTI if you experience one or a combination of these symptoms during pregnancy:
- Dysuria, the pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Urinary urgency, the immediate need to pee frequently
- Cloudy urine
- Haematuria, the presence of blood in the urine
- Abdominal or suprapubic pain, an uncomfortable pressure in or near your lower abdominal region
Frequent urination is common, but that may be normal with pregnancy as it progresses, says Brandi.However, you can also have a UTI without symptoms. In fact, asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB), the presence of bacteria in the urine without symptoms, occurs in approximately 2%-7% of pregnancies.
best way to identify ASB. Experts recommend screening not only on the first prenatal visit, but during the second and third trimesters as well.
Why are UTIs common in pregnant women?The body undergoes plenty of physiological changes during pregnancy such as ureteral dilation, decreased urine concentration, increased bladder volume, and decreased ureteral and bladder tone. These changes decrease the urinary tract's ability to resist bacteria, increasing the prevalence of UTIs.
Several risk factors make it more likely to develop either single or multiple UTIs during pregnancy, which includes:
- Previous history of UTIs outside of pregnancy
- Lower socioeconomic status
- Sexual activity
- Female genital mutilation
UTIs may happen at any time during pregnancy, though pyelonephritis (a type of UTI that infects one or both kidneys), in particular, is more common during the second and third trimesters, says Rainford. Untreated ASB and undiagnosed lower UTIs can cause this complication.
How to treat UTIs in pregnancy"Treating a UTI during pregnancy is the same thing as when you are not pregnant. You will need antibiotics to get rid of the infection," says Brandi. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic that is safe for use during pregnancy, including:
The treatment would depend on your symptoms, medical history, allergy to medications, and the type of bacteria found in the urine culture. Severe or complicated UTIs may need intravenous antibiotics in a hospital.
It is critical to get proper treatment as soon as possible. Untreated UTIs increase the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, preeclampsia, and maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity. The infection can also escalate up the urinary tract to affect your kidneys and possibly lead to sepsis.Even if you feel better immediately after starting antibiotics, you must complete the whole treatment. There could be some lingering bacteria that may cause another infection, says Brandi.
The bottom lineUTIs are very common in pregnancy due to the body's physiological and hormonal changes. If you are exhibiting any symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.
Attend all your prenatal check-ups and get screened for ASB as well. Early diagnosis and treatment of UTIs is key to considerably reducing complications."Treat UTIs as soon as you can because they can become more serious faster than if you are not pregnant," Brandi tells Insider. "It can impact your health and the outcome of your pregnancy."
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