UTI or urinary tract infection is basically a bacterial infection that occurs in the urinary tract. It is also called as bladder infection and is very common among pregnant women. Many health care providers believe that pregnant women are at great risk of developing this type of infection, especially after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
Since uterus starts expanding as pregnancy progresses, urinary tract also experiences some changes. For example, due to increased weight, drainage from the urinary bladder can get blocked and it is due to this blockage that UTI occurs. Some of the symptoms that are commonly reported in UTI are fever, chills, pain, vomiting and discomfort during urination. If UTI is not treated in time, it may affect the kidneys adversely.
How To Treat And Prevent UTI
For treating UTI during pregnancy, health care providers normally prescribe antibiotics. These drugs are generally safe for developing baby. For complete eradication of infection, antibiotic course for three to seven days is prescribed. If a woman is not pregnant, health care providers generally prescribe an antibiotic course up to ten days.
Initially, stronger antibiotics are avoided, as these may prove harmful for the embryo. However, if relief from symptoms is not felt, stronger antibiotics have to be provided. Many women tend to take these medicines for two to three days only. This should not be done as UTI infection, which is left untreated, may lead to low birth of baby. In some cases, premature labor also occurs. If any type of side effect is noticed after taking medication, same must be reported to the health care provider immediately.
Since prevention is better than cure, a pregnant woman must take steps that prevent UTI. For example, cranberry juice has been found very effective in preventing UTI infection. While consuming this juice, a pregnant woman must ensure that it is 100% cranberry juice. Mixed juices containing sugar fillers should be avoided. However, if a pregnant woman has history of kidney stones, she must contact health care provider before consuming cranberry juice. If it is not possible to drink this juice, as it is very strong, its pills can also be consumed.
Apart from above, there are certain steps that help in preventing as well as treating infection in a fast manner. First of all, a pregnant woman must try to drink at least six to eight glasses of water in a day. Fruit juice preparations and beverages containing caffeine and sugar must be avoided. There are some vitamins and nutrients that ensure fast healing. For example, beta carotene, vitamin C, and Zinc are some of such nutrients and minerals. These must be included in diet.
Not passing the urine may pose great problems for a pregnant woman. Thus, she must empty her bladder as soon as an urge for urination is felt. Also, urinary bladder should be completely emptied. White getting treated for the UTI infection, intercourse should be avoided as it may aggravate the condition. During treatment, only cotton underwear should be worn as it allows air to circulate. Since soaking in tepid water may help bacteria in growing, a pregnant woman should be not take bath during the treatment.