UTI and Pregnancy

Urinary Tract Infections and Pregnancy

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) is a common illness among men and women. Women are more affected by UTI than men due to the facts that the feminine urethra is shorter than the men's, it is next to the vajina, which can have microorganisms, and it is near the anus, which is contaminated. Some women have had UTI several times in their life. 15-20% of women have had once a UTI.

Pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting an UTI due to several facts:

- The kidneys get bigger due to the increase in the blood's flow that must be filtered and therefore there is an increase in the renal length

- The bladder is pushed to another place and it loses strength due to an increase in the progesterone. It is more difficult to get all the urine out of the body and the probability that the urine goes back through the ureters to the bladder is higher.

- The uterus presses the ureters specially on the right side so that urine gets stuck there. This conditions promotes the bacterial growth

- The big tummy makes it difficult to clean the genital area in a proper way

- During pregnancy a high amount of proteins are being released through the urine, which causes a bacterial multiplication

- The urine's PH becomes more alcaline

It is very important that the mother-to-be does not get any kind of infection due to the risk that UTI represent for bladder and kidneys. During pregnancy the risk of developing pyelonephritis increases from 1.4% (non-pregnant women) to 28%. However, it is not easy to dignose an infection in the bladder in pregnant women due to the facts that they need to urinate more frequently and due to the pressure or discomfort above the pubic area, which are normal conditions during pregnancy.

Specially during pregnancy must be carefully observed if a UTI is present so that it can be immediately cured with antibiotics. Therefore, it is recommended to analyse the urine periodically specially if nausea, vomit, chills and flank pains are presented. In this case, a urine test must be immediately done.

Infections in the urinary tract are every common during pregnancy. There are three kinds of UTI: Asymptomatic bacteriuria (bacteria in urine), cystitis (infection in the bladder) and pyelonephritis, a serious infection in the kidneys, which can further cause the dangerous illness called sepsis (infection of blood and tissues in the whole body)

Asymptomatic Bacteriuria appears in a simple urine test presenting 100,000 bacteria in one mililiter urine. This condition generally appears without any symptom. If this condition is not treated on time it can infect the bladder in 30% of the cases (cystitis), which can infect the kidneys (pyelonephritis) in 50% of the cases. Asymptomatic Bacteriuria is associated with an increased risks of premature birth, intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), low weight at birth, anemia, eclampsia and infection in the amniotic fluid.


Risks of UTI for the baby in womb

The risks of an urinary infection are very serious. Spontaneous abortion, fetal death in the utherus, restricted intrauterine growth, rupture of the membranes and premature birth associated with a low weight at birth are some of the risks. Besides, there is a higher risk of getting pyelonephritis. Fortunately, periodical urine test during pregnancy must be done to keep mother and baby healthy. In any case, if there is a suspect of having a UTI, an ecography will be conducted by the healthcare provided to have a clear picture of the situation. Depending on the degree of the infection antibiotics, serum and even a stay in hospital for a few days may be needed. However, in case of developing a UTI it is highly recommended to strictly follow the advises of the healthcare provider.