A UTI is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract.

The urinary tract removes waste and extra water from the body. It’s made up of

1.Two kidneys, where urine is produced, 

2.Two ureters, which carry urine to your bladder

3.The bladder, which collects and stores the urine, and 

4.The urethra, the tube that sends the urine out of your body.

Sometimes, normal bacteria from your skin and other areas can enter into the urinary tract, where they multiply fast, resulting in infection.

How common are UTIs during pregnancy?

At least 5 percent of women can expect to develop at least one UTI during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the pressures of your expanding uterus, the muscle-relaxing hormones flooding your body and the challenge of keeping your perineal area clean due to your baby bump make it even easier for intestinal bacteria to enter your urinary tract, leading to UTIs.

While bladder infections are more common among non-pregnant women, kidney infections are also common in expecting women as bladder infections, occurring in only about 2 percent of pregnancies.

symptoms of UTI

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • More frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate (though frequent urination during pregnancy alone is common and harmless)
  • Intense urge to urinate while the amount of urine passed is small
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody or foul-smelling urine
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lower-abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Pain that occurs on one or both sides between the upper abdomen or on the back; this could indicate a kidney infection, and should be treated immediately
  • Chills, nausea, vomiting and/or high fever, can be signs of a kidney infection

1.Changes in the body during pregnancy. All women are at risk for UTIs , more than men because of the shorter urethra, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder. But pregnant women may be more susceptible due to changes in hormones which may give bacteria an easier opportunity to travel up the urinary tract and cause an infection. Your growing uterus also puts added pressure on your bladder, making it more difficult to completely empty the urine. 

2.Bacteria from the bowel. UTI-causing bacteria can come from several places. The most common bacteria, E. coli, comes from the bowel. Because the urethra is located close to the rectum, these bacteria can reach the urethra readily. Wiping from front to back (instead of back to front) every time you use the bathroom can help keep bacteria away from this area.

3.Intercourse. Sex during pregnancy is perfectly healthy, unless contraindicated .

It also has the risk of causing UTI, as bacteria near the vagina (including E. coli) may be pushed into the urethra during intercourse. It’s of benefit to urinate before and after sex to move that bacteria along. 

Group B streptococcus is a type of bacteria, commonly present in the intestinal tract, which can also cause UTIs during pregnancy. This has to be treated with antibiotics if necessary.

doctor so that you can be closely monitored for signs of an infection:

  • A history of recurring UTIs
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Obesity
  • Being sexually active
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Previous urinary tract surgery

Diagnosis and treatment

The standard test to diagnose UTI is a urine culture. 

A “clean catch” sample, where you pee into a cup midstream after carefully wiping your outer vaginal area is preferred.

If you are diagnosed with a UTI, a pregnancy-safe antibiotic for seven to 14 days is advised to get rid of all the bacteria. Be sure to take the recommended full course, and drink plenty of water.

If the infection has reached your kidneys, hospital stay is advised, where you can receive IV antibiotics.




CAUTION: Some women have a UTI with no symptoms . As an untreated infection can lead to complications — including kidney infection, an increased risk of fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and preterm birth — notify your doctor immediately if you have any UTI-like symptoms.

This makes the urine tests at your regular prenatal visits really important.


A few steps can help reduce the the risk of  UTI during pregnancy: 

1.Adequate hydration. Try to drink enough water every day; the increase in bathroom time help flush bacteria out of the urethra.

2.Emptying the bladder frequently. You may feel like you’re waddling to the bathroom every five minutes, but it’s important to never hold in the urine. As soon as you get the urge to go, go. Be sure to completely empty the urine. Before going to bed, empty your bladder again.

3.Wearing cotton underwear. This will help keep that area dry, as bacteria grow in moisture. You may skip the underwear when you sleep, at least sometimes if you can, to let the area dry out.

4.Wiping from front to back each time when you use the bathroom.

5.Avoiding feminine hygiene products like douches, powders, shower gels, soaps, sprays, detergents and toilet paper. These can cause irritation to an already susceptable area.

6.Proper nutrition. Keep your resistance high by eating a healthy pregnancy diet and staying active. Eating yogurt or taking probiotics help to restore the balance of beneficial bacteria. 

7.Practicing good hygiene. Keep your perineum clean and irritation-free by rinsing externally every time you shower. It’s also good to wash the area and empty your bladder before and after sex.

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