Pregnant? Here's What You Should Know About the Dangers of a UTI

Pregnant? Here's What You Should Know About the Dangers of a UTI

Pregnancy is an exciting journey. And along with that joy and anticipation comes a plethora of physical changes, too.

It’s important to prioritize your health during pregnancy, and during pregnancy, urinary tract infections (UTIs) often are underestimated. While UTIs are common, they can pose serious risks for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Our team at Advanced Urology specializes in female urology and bladder pain, and we’re here to help you get the information you need. Here’s what every pregnant woman should know about the dangers of UTIs and how to avoid them.

Understanding UTIs

UTIs are bacterial infections that form anywhere in your urinary system. They can affect your bladder, urethra, and/or kidneys.

UTIs are more common in women — in fact, women get UTIs about 30 times more often than men. This discrepancy is due to the shorter length of the female urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.

And, unfortunately, pregnancy can increase your risk even further. During pregnancy, hormones can cause changes in your urinary tract, and your urine contains more hormones, sugar, and protein. These factors can potentially put you at higher risk of UTIs than usual.

The risks of UTIs during pregnancy

UTIs are treatable. Prompt treatment with antibiotics is very effective, and it’s the best way to avoid serious complications. However, untreated UTIs can lead to serious complications for both you and your baby.

Here's what you should be aware of:

Kidney infections

If a UTI goes untreated, it can progress to a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Kidney infections during pregnancy can result in more severe complications, like preeclampsia and even sepsis.

Premature labor

UTIs can increase your risk of premature labor and birth. The infection can trigger contractions and make your cervix open too early and lead to preterm birth, which can have lifelong consequences for your baby's health.

Low birth weight

UTIs have been associated with low birth weight in newborns, particularly when those babies are born prematurely. Babies born with low birth weight are at a higher risk of health issues in the short and long term.

UTI prevention and care during pregnancy

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to help protect your health and your baby’s well-being. Preventing UTIs during pregnancy requires a proactive approach to personal hygiene and health care. We recommend that you:

These habits help flush bacteria from your urinary system and reduce your risk of infection.

When should I see a doctor?

Along with healthy habits, it’s important to recognize the signs of a UTI, so you can get a diagnosis and treatment.

Watch for symptoms like:

If you’re pregnant and suspect that you might have a UTI, don’t wait to seek medical attention. Our team can diagnose your condition and prescribe antibiotics that are safe for both you and your baby. You should never attempt to treat a UTI with over-the-counter medications without consulting a medical professional, as some medications may be harmful during pregnancy.

UTIs might seem like a minor inconvenience, but during pregnancy, they can escalate into serious health concerns for both you and your baby. Never hesitate to reach out if you think you might have a UTI — we’re here to help you get the answers and the care you need.

Send Advanced Urology a message online or call one of our offices in Culver City, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, or San Pedro, California, to get started.

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