Urinary tract infections in pregnancy are relatively common. Because the pregnancy hormone progesterone causes the urinary tract to dilate and bacteria can penetrate more easily.
Even pregnant women then have to be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise serious complications can develop during pregnancy – not least because an untreated urinary tract infection (cystitis, bladder infection) can also develop into a kidney infection.
In order to keep the risk for mother and child low, the urine of pregnant women is also regularly tested for bacteria during preventive medical check-ups. And the mother-to-be can also do something through her behavior to ensure that a urinary tract infection does not occur during pregnancy.
Why are urinary tract infections common during pregnancy?
The fact that urinary tract infections occur relatively frequently during pregnancy is due to the hormonal situation of the mother-to-be: the pregnancy hormone progesterone makes all muscles loose and soft so that the womb (uterus) can expand properly. However, progesterone also has a relaxing effect on the ureters, which dilate as a result. It is therefore easier for pathogens to ascend into the bladder than usual during pregnancy. Women are more likely to suffer from cystitis than men anyway because they have a shorter urethra.
In addition, the growing uterus puts pressure on the ureter: the urine can flow out much more slowly, so that bacteria may have enough time to settle in the ureter and cause inflammation there.
How do I know I’m affected?
Typical symptoms of a urinary tract infections in pregnancy are:
- Pain and burning when urinating
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Constant urge to urinate
- Possibly only droplet-by-drop bladder emptying
- Possibly visible blood in the urine.
If such symptoms occur in pregnant women, you should see your gynecologist as soon as possible! With a simple urine test, he can determine whether there are bacteria in the urine. This test is also carried out regularly during check-ups in order to detect urinary tract infections at an early stage.
Other diagnostic methods may also be used, as are also usual with urinary tract infections, such as a urine culture, to identify the exact pathogen. If there is a bladder infection during pregnancy, the treatment of choice – as usual – is treatment with antibiotics.
Treatment for urinary tract infections in pregnancy
Treatment for urinary tract infections in pregnancy is indicated by the obstetrician, who usually prescribes the use of antibiotics such as Cephalexin or Ampicillin for about 7 to 14 days, once the infection has been diagnosed through a urine test.
The use of antibiotics to treat this type of infection should only be done under medical guidance, since not all antibiotics are safe to use in pregnancy, due to the risk that they may harm the development and growth of the baby.
1. Pharmacy drugs
In this way, the most indicated medications for the treatment of urinary tract infection in pregnancy, in addition to Cephalexin or Ampicillin, are:
It is important to treat urinary tract infection in pregnancy, even if it does not cause symptoms, because when treatment is not performed it can cause complications, such as a kidney infection, premature birth and even miscarriage.
2. Blueberry Supplement
To complement the treatment prescribed by the doctor, you can also take a nutritional supplement of cranberry or cranberry juice, because according to some studies it has antiseptic and astringent properties that prevent the bacteria from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract, preventing So infections.
In case of taking the blueberry supplement, the recommendation is 1 tablet between 300 and 400 mg, 2 times a day. This treatment can be used for 12 consecutive months, without any contraindication to avoid the appearance of infections. In the case of preparing the cranberry juice you need:
- 236 g of blueberries
- 1 glass of water.
Blend the ingredients and drink it 3 times a day.
Can antibiotics harm the unborn child?
Sometimes medication must be given during pregnancy. An untreated bladder infection can harm mother and child more than the use of certain antibiotics. Today, medicines are intensively tested for their effects on the unborn child, which is why medicines are available for most diseases that even pregnant women can safely take.
Among the antibiotics, these are penicillin, cephalosporins and erythromycin. They are considered harmless throughout pregnancy. In the second trimester, the antibiotic cotrimoxazole is also permitted. The doctor will prescribe the appropriate antibiotic for an uncomplicated urinary tract infection for 1-3 days. In the case of a complicated urinary tract infection, pregnant women must take an antibiotic for 10-14 days.
What complications can a urinary tract infection cause during pregnancy?
Urinary tract infections in pregnancy must be treated with antibiotics, otherwise they can not only spread to a kidney infection in the mother, but can also endanger the baby in the womb. Consequences can be:
- Amnionitis: Inflammation of the inner membrane of the fetus
- Preeclampsia: the so-called pregnancy poisoning
- Maternal anemia: an iron deficiency in the expectant mother, which can lead to low birth weight or premature births
- Premature birth: generally higher probability of preterm birth.
How can I support the healing?
Expectant mothers can support the healing of cystitis with home remedies that have also proven themselves in other cases of cystitis:
- Drink a lot: To flush out the bladder, drink a lot of still water – at least 2 to 3 liters a day. Herbal teas made from nettles, bearberry leaves, goldenrod and birch leaves have also proven effective against cystitis. Pregnant women are allowed to drink 3 cups of it daily in small sips. On the other hand, you should avoid highly acidic fruit and fruit juices. They could further irritate the bladder. However, cranberry juice has been found to be helpful.
- Keeping the pelvic area warm: hypothermia in the intimate area weakens the local immune system. Bacteria have it easier then. Avoid sitting on a cold surface, always put a pad under your bottom. In addition to the hot water bottle, you can also grab your good old woolen underpants. Because heat stimulates blood circulation, which strengthens the local immune system.
- Rest: In addition to warmth, rest and sleep are also very good for an inflamed bladder. This is how the immune system can gather strength to fight the pathogens.
- Hygiene: Avoid excessive hygiene measures, such as frequent showers and vaginal douches. These destroy the skin’s natural protective acid mantle and pave the way for pathogens to enter the body. Wash underwear at 60 degrees if possible to eliminate germs. After sex, urinate within 15 minutes to flush out germs that could lead to infection.
How can I prevent a urinary tract infections in pregnancy?
Expectant mums can also protect themselves against a urinary tract infection by taking the above behavioral measures. You should only refrain from drinking herbal teas as a preventive measure – because in the long term pregnant women should not eat anything “extraordinary”; And of course that includes medicinal herbs