Bladder infections, commonly called urinary tract infections by physicians, referred to an infection that has lodged itself either in the bladder or the urethra, the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body. Bacteria can infect any part of the urinary tract from the kidneys down to the urethra. These infections can occur when bacteria travels from the rack them up the re-urethra and into the bladder. At this point you can cause cystitis, an irritation of the bladder and urethra from the infection, or continue to multiply without causing any symptoms.
Being pregnant makes a woman more susceptible to bladder infections or urinary tract infections of all kinds. The higher levels of hormones required to relax the muscles and support the pregnancy will also relax the muscles of the ureters and cause them to stretch. A growing uterus can also compress the ureters and make it difficult for urine to flow. As the baby presses down on the bladder it can also be difficult to empty it completely. Also during pregnancy there can be a higher level of glucose in the urine which will provide bacteria with a food source. All of these things increase the risk of a woman experiencing a bladder infection during pregnancy.
During your first prenatal visit most physicians will test the urine for bacteria, whether or not you exhibit any signs or symptoms of a bladder infection. If the initial test is negative research has shown that the chances of developing a UTI later in pregnancy is lower. However, if there is bacteria in the urine, treatment will be initiated whether there is symptoms or not.
If the bacterial infection that is left to develop and incidents caught, possibly because there were no symptoms, it can lead to a kidney infection. This is a serious condition that may lead to premature labor and other complications for both the mother and baby.
Women who are suffering from a bladder infection will feel sudden and frequent urges to urinate, pain and burning when they are urinating as well as fever and chills. These symptoms are the same as those experienced by women who are not pregnant.
As a preventative measure, pregnant women may consider adding one or two glasses of cranberry juice a day to their diet. This is because cranberry juice changes the acidity of the urine and makes it a much more hostile environment for bacteria.
If you believe you’re getting a bladder infection you should immediately seek the attention and advice of your healthcare practitioner. Urinary tract infections which reached the kidneys will put you at a high risk for preterm labor and the potential for permanent damage done to your own kidneys.
Treatment for bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, in pregnant women include the use of oral antibiotics to kill the bacteria which are growing in the bladder. Women are also encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in order to flush out the bacteria and to urinate frequently. Because of the weight of the baby and the dilation of the urinary tract there can be extra urine left which becomes a growth medium for bacteria. By urinating frequently, even though you may not feel the urge, you continue to flush out urine and potential bacteria.
Never attempts to treat a urinary tract infection on your own at home. And when you seek the advice of your primary care physician, be sure to advise him that you are pregnant if it isn’t patently obvious. There are specific antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy but there are those that will cause harm to the child is taken during pregnancy.
After treatments your obstetrician or primary care physician will want to test your urine and can to ensure that the infection is gone, even though the symptoms are gone. Standard of care and then dictates that you received repeated urine cultures done at regular intervals throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Research shows that approximately 40% of women who are pregnant and get one UTI will develop a second one.
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