Uti Treatment: What To Expect
UTI treatments during pregnancy are safe and easy, usually involving a short course of oral antibiotics. There are two exceptions:
- If you continue to have UTIs after we treat the first one, we may recommend suppressive therapy. You will take a lower dose of antibiotics every day of your pregnancy instead of larger doses for just a few days.
- If you have pyelonephritis , you will need to receive antibiotics through an IV at a hospital.
For most patients, receiving antibiotic treatment is much safer than risking a kidney infection. We will discuss all your health conditions and pregnancy symptoms to determine the best type of antibiotic for you, depending on what will work effectively against the bacteria in your urine.
Risks And Outlook For A Uti In Pregnancy
Because of growing concern for antibiotic resistance, researchers are looking for alternative treatments for UTIs.
While several methods show promise as effective treatments for UTIs in pregnant women, more research is needed, and antibiotics remain the most common and understood form of treatment.
It is important to seek medical attention if you are pregnant and think you may have a UTI. When not treated properly, UTIs can be harmful to you and your baby. Always consult with your doctor before trying a new home remedy.
Risks Of Taking Antibiotics While Pregnant
The use of certain antibiotics and cold drugs may pose a risk in case a woman becomes pregnant and is not aware of it yet. Antibiotics like clindamycin and cephalosporins are usually considered safe when pregnant, but other antibiotics can have a negative effect on your pregnancy. Taking powerful antibiotics during pregnancy can cause developmental defects in the growing foetus or may lead to the termination of the pregnancy itself. Therefore, it is wise to be sure about your pregnancy in case you have an infection and have to take antibiotic treatment to prevent any possible complications in the future. Medicines that fall under category A or B as approved by the FDA list may be safe to use during pregnancy.
Category A includes antibiotics that are known to cause no harm to the foetus. Mycostatin is currently the only antibiotic listed as Category A.
Also Read: How to Increase Fertility of Cervical Mucus
Category B, the most common category, includes antibiotics that are not known to cause birth defects or any pregnancy complications. The antibiotics listed as Category B include Penicillin, Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Cloxacillin, Flucloxacillin, Cephalexin, Cefradine, Cefuroxime, Cefixime, Cefpodoxime, Cefotaxime, Ceftriaxone, Azithromycin, Erythromycin, Clotrimazole, Metronidazoles and Naproxen.
Don’t Miss: Does Urgent Care Prescribe Antibiotics
Uti Symptoms In Pregnancy
The most common symptoms of a UTI are pain or burning when you pee and the urgent need to pee frequently. The burning feeling is caused by urine passing through an inflamed urethra. The need to race to the bathroom every few minutes is caused by inflammation in the wall of the bladder. When the bladder is infected and irritated, holding even a small amount of urine can feel uncomfortable.
When youre pregnant, the pressure of your uterus on your bladder can make it feel like you need to go to the bathroom frequently. This is normal. It may be inconvenient, but it shouldnt feel like you need to go urgently every few minutes. Also, passing your urine shouldnt hurt. Signs of infection include the painful need to urinate immediately only to discover there is very little urine in your bladder along with pain while the urine is coming.
If you get a fever or back pain with a UTI, that could mean the infection has progressed beyond your bladder to your kidneys. This is called pyelonephritis. It is a much more serious infection that can result in long-term problems for you and your baby. For this reason, if you have a UTI and a fever during pregnancy, you should always be seen by a medical professional right away.
Medications For The Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy
Antibiotic medications are frequently used to treat urinary tract infections in women who are pregnant. They are typically prescribed for three to 10 days, depending on the type of medication and the severity of the infection. Common antibiotics that have been approved for the treatment of urinary tract infections during pregnancy include:
- Penicillins: Penicillins, including amoxicillin, were once the principle treatment of choice for urinary tract infections, but are ineffective against E. coli-driven UTIs in up to 30 percent of cases. They are, however, useful against urinary tract infections caused by other bacteria, such as Staphylococcus saprophyticus or Enterococcus. Stubborn, drug-resistant infections may have to be addressed with Augmentin . Penicillins are typically prescribed for 10 days and are generally well tolerated by most patients. Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and vaginal itching or discharge.
- Cephalosporins: Cephalosporins include medications such as cephalexin , cefuroxime and cefadrozil . These antibiotics are currently the most widely prescribed medications for UTIs, but can only be used in the first and second trimesters. Because of their potency, cephalosporins are usually prescribed for three to seven days and are well tolerated. Side effects of these medications include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Uti Causes During Pregnancy
Some of the risk factors for UTI in pregnancy are the same as those for non-pregnant women:
- History of urinary tract infection
- Anatomical differences
- Harmful bacteria getting into the urinary tract during sexual activity
- Bacterial imbalance caused by diet or digestive issues
And other UTI risk factors are pregnancy-specific 1,2:
- As the uterus expands, it puts pressure on the urinary tract
- Hormonal changes can disrupt fluid passing from the kidneys to the bladder, meaning that urine is stored for longer, leading to a buildup of bacteria
- Medical procedures during pregnancy which involve the insertion of a catheter or other device can also introduce bacteria to the urinary tract
The anatomical and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are more likely to be risk factors for cystitis between weeks 6 to 24 of pregnancy.
Another possible risk factor is the balance of different bacterial species within the microbiomes in your body. That being said, research is lacking on possible changes that may occur, so it isnt possible to make any certain conclusions about this one yet. 3
Why Are Utis Common In Pregnant Women
When youre pregnant, the anatomy of your urinary tract actually changes. For instance, your kidneys become larger and your growing uterus can compress your ureters and bladder. Because of this compression, fully emptying your bladder during pregnancy becomes more difficult. In addition, your progesterone and estrogen levels increase during pregnancy, which can weaken your bladder and ureters. Pregnancy also alters the makeup of your urine, reducing the acidity and increasing the amount of protein, hormones, and sugar in your urine. That excess sugar, for one, can encourage bacterial growth. All of the above contribute to a heightened chance of developing a UTI in pregnancy. And that is why its recommended that all pregnant women receive a urinalysis and urine culture at 12 to 16 weeks or during the first prenatal visit.
Recommended Reading: Best Antibiotic For Sore Throat Infection
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. Changes in hormones can also lead to vesicoureteral reflux, a condition in which your pee flows back up from your bladder to your kidneys. This can cause UTIs.
When youâre pregnant, your pee has more sugar, protein, and hormones in it. These changes also put you at higher risk for a UTI.
Because youâre pregnant, 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.
Other causes of UTIs include:
Escherichia coli and other bacteria from your poop. E. Coli is the most common cause of UTIs and can move from your rectum to your urethra if you donât wipe from front to back.
Sexual activity. Fingers, your partnerâs penis, or devices can move bacteria near your vagina into your urethra.
Group B streptococcus. Many women have this bacteria in their colon and vagina. It can cause UTIs and women can pass it to their newborns. Your doctor will test you for this bacteria around weeks 36 to 37 of pregnancy. If youâre positive for group B strep, your doctor will give you IV antibiotics during labor.
Can Having A Uti While Pregnant Hurt The Baby
Possibly. A UTI itself doesnt hurt the baby directly, says Bartos. Its the failure to treat a UTI that can cause things like preterm birth or, rarely, infection of the amniotic sac. For example, research published in American Family Physician shows that treating pregnant women who have asymptomatic UTIs decreases the incidence of preterm birth and low-birth-weight infants. Thats why screening and prompt treatment are important.
Recommended Reading: Which Probiotic Is Best For Antibiotic Diarrhea
What Should I Do If I Suspect A False Negative Pregnancy Test
If your first test is negative and you still think you might be pregnant, your best option is to wait a few days before taking another test. HCG levels double rapidly, so the odds of a positive test just two days after a negative test are very high.
If you cant stand waiting, consider retesting later in the day with a more sensitive test. Home pregnancy tests usually reveal information about their sensitivity on the label, so read labels carefully and choose accordingly.
If you still get a negative test and dont get your period, or if you just cant stand waiting any longer, call your doctor.
A blood test in a doctors office can detect even the lowest levels of HCG. This can be helpful to determine whether your HCG levels are normal. This is an important piece of the puzzle to measure fertility.
How Common Are Utis During Pregnancy
At least 5 percent of women can expect to develop at least one UTI during pregnancy those who develop one have a 1 in 3 chance of an encore later.
During pregnancy, the compression 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 about twice as common in expecting women as bladder infections. That said, they’re still quite rare, occurring in only about 2 percent of pregnancies.
Recommended Reading: Amoxicillin Antibiotics For Tooth Infection
Preventing Utis During Pregnancy
While UTIs might happen whatever precautions you take, a few steps can help reduce the odds youll suffer from a UTI during pregnancy:
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
How Do I Know Am One Week Pregnant
Pregnancy symptoms in week 1
According to the Office on Womens Health, the most common first sign of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period. Other early pregnancy symptoms include: nausea with or without vomiting. breast changes including tenderness, swelling, or tingling feeling, or noticeable blue veins.
You May Like: How Long Does A Bladder Infection Last With Antibiotics
What Is A Urine Infection And What Are The Symptoms
A urine infection is caused by germs which get into your urine. Usually the germs have come from your skin, and travelled up the tubes of the urinary system. The symptoms may depend on how far up your system the germs have travelled. The germs may cause:
- Asymptomatic bacteriuria. In this situation bacteria are found in your urine but are not causing any symptoms. You will only know you have it if your urine is tested.
- Bladder infection . This is common, both in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Typical symptoms are pain when you pass urine and passing urine more often. You may also have other symptoms such as pain in your lower tummy , blood in your urine, and a high temperature .
- Kidney infection . This is uncommon but may occur as a complication from cystitis or asymptomatic bacteriuria. It is usually a more serious infection, making you feel very unwell. Some or all of the possible symptoms may occur, which include:
- Pain in your side over your kidney.
- Having a high temperature.
- Symptoms of cystitis as above.
- Feeling generally unwell.
Uti Causes Symptoms And Treatment Options During Pregnancy
While over half of women will experience a UTI at some point in their lifetime, UTI affects approximately 8% of women who are pregnant. 1
Asymptomatic bacteriuria is also very common in pregnancy. This is when there are bacteria in your urinary tract but you are not actually experiencing any symptoms or signs of a UTI.
But why is the risk of UTI higher during pregnancy? How do you tell the difference between cystitis symptoms and pregnancy symptoms? And is it safe to be using antibiotics?
You May Like: Does Tractor Supply Sell Antibiotics
Uti Testing In Pregnancy
The standard test for a UTI is a urine culture. This is done by watching a urine sample for several days and measuring the growth of bacteria. Normally, urine is sterile, which means no bacteria should grow. If bacteria do grow, laboratory specialists can do more testing to determine what kind of bacteria they are.
A urinalysis is a faster urine test. For this test, urine is studied under a microscope and checked for signs of infection. The result of a urinalysis can point to a UTI, but it cant determine what kind of bacteria are causing it.
Most providers offices also do a dipstick or spot test of urine samples. These rapid tests are helpful because they are done in just a few minutes and can show signs of infection when a UTI is present. The downside of rapid urine tests is that they provide much less information than either a urinalysis or a urine culture.
Urine tests for infection are not the same tests that are done to check for pregnancy. Having a UTI does not affect a pregnancy test result and vice versa.
What If I Take Antibiotics Before Realizing Im Pregnant
While many antibiotics are considered safe during pregnancy, Dr. Salinger cautions that a few, in particular, are associated with an increased miscarriage if taken before 20 weeks. A 2017 study found that azithromycin , Cipro, and Bactrim increased the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. That said, the risk is said to be very low.
If you took one of these antibiotics before realizing you were pregnant, try not to panicafter all, you didn’t know! The best thing you can do is make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the next steps and ensure all is well with baby.
Recommended Reading: What Antibiotic Is Used To Treat An Abscessed Tooth
What Are The Symptoms Of Uti In Pregnancy
Common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are:
- pain when you pass urine
- passing urine more often
- pain in the lower stomach area
- blood in your urine
- urine that looks cloudy or smells more than normal.
|If you have a high fever, shakes, back pain or feel generally unwell, with or without urinary symptoms, seek medical advice right now. You may have pyelonephritis, a more serious infection of the kidneys which needs immediate treatment.|
Other Medications For The Treatment Of Uti During Pregnancy
Other medications may also be helpful in treating the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. In particular, phenazopyridine can be used to treat the pain and burning associated with a urinary tract infection. Although safe for use during pregnancy, it should not be taken for more than two days. Side effects include headache, stomach upset, and dark orange or red urine.
Urinary tract infectionâMedications. . University of Maryland Medical Center.
Lee, M., Bozzo, P., Einarson, A., & Koren, G. . Urinary tract infections in pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician. 54:853-854.
Delzell, J.E., & Lefevre, M.L. . Urinary Tract Infections During Pregnancy. Am Fam Physician. 61:713-720.
Also Check: Types Of Antibiotics For Ear Infection
Utis During Pregnancy Are Common And Treatable
As you adjust to new changes in your body during pregnancy, it can be easy to overlook symptoms of everyday health conditions, such as urinary tract infections . UTIs are equally common in pregnant and non-pregnant patients and usually require medication to clear the infection.
But if left untreated during pregnancy, a UTI can progress to s serious infection that can lead to preterm labor, premature delivery, or even fetal loss.
UTIs occur when bacteria enter and grow in the urinary tract. During pregnancy, your bladder which is in the lower part of your urinary tract is less likely to empty entirely when you urinate, thanks to pressure from your expanding uterus and an increase in hormones that relax the muscles in your uterus. The longer urine stays in your body, the higher the chances that youll grow too much bacteria.
We watch for three types of UTIs during pregnancy:
Because UTIs are prevalent during pregnancy, we request a urine sample to conduct a culture test as part of your prenatal care. The test looks for specific types of bacteria in your urine that can cause an infection.
We will likely test your urine multiple times throughout your pregnancy. But dont assume were looking for a UTI every time this is a common misconception. Its important to talk with your doctor if you experience UTI symptoms to make sure you get the right test. The earlier we diagnose a UTI, the sooner we can treat you and prevent a more dangerous condition.