What are the Treatments for Urinary Tract Infections in Pregnancy?

Lindsey Rivas

Urinary tract infections in pregnancy are common because of natural changes that occur to the urinary tract and hormone levels. It is critical that pregnant women get these infections treated as soon as possible to avoid causing harm to the baby. Treating urinary tract infections in pregnancy typically involves taking oral antibiotics for about a week, although in severe cases, hospitalization might be necessary. Symptoms will usually disappear about three days after treatment begins. It is common to have further urinary tract infections after having one during pregnancy, so care should be taken to prevent future infections.

Penicillian may be prescribed to treat a urinary tract infection during pregnancy.
Penicillian may be prescribed to treat a urinary tract infection during pregnancy.

It is common for women to get urinary tract infections in pregnancy, but if they are left untreated, they could lead to kidney infections. This can increase the risk of preterm labor, low birth weight, and perinatal mortality. A doctor should be consulted at the onset of symptoms, such as painful and more frequent urination. A urinalysis will generally be performed to diagnose a urinary tract infection.

A urinalysis is performed to diagnose a urinary tract infection.
A urinalysis is performed to diagnose a urinary tract infection.

In order to treat urinary tract infections in pregnancy, doctors will typically prescribe oral antibiotics that are safe for pregnant women, such as amoxicillin or penicillin. The antibiotics are usually taken for three to seven days, and symptoms tend to disappear by the third day after treatment begins. If the symptoms do not go away after a few days, or if fever, chills, and nausea develop, one should contact a doctor.

The human urinary tract.
The human urinary tract.

In some cases in which women have had multiple urinary tract infections in pregnancy, doctors might recommend staying on low doses of antibiotics throughout the entire pregnancy. Also, if the infection is severe enough, hospitalization might be required to receive intravenous antibiotics. Getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids if dehydrated might be recommended as well.

Pregnant women with urinary tract infections should consume at least eight glasses of water daily.
Pregnant women with urinary tract infections should consume at least eight glasses of water daily.

There are some antibiotics that are used to treat urinary tract infections that are not safe for pregnant women. These include sulphonamide and nitrofurantoins. Studies have shown that these types of antibiotics increase the risk of birth defects when women take them early in pregnancy.

A doctor might prescribe amoxicillin for pregnant women with urinary tract infections.
A doctor might prescribe amoxicillin for pregnant women with urinary tract infections.

Having one urinary tract infection during pregnancy increases the likelihood of having more of them, so it is important for pregnant women to take care to prevent further infections. Some ways to prevent urinary tract infections are to keep the genital area clean, wear clean underwear, and empty the bladder before and after sex. It is also helpful to stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.

Always wearing clean underwear is a good way to prevent urinary tract infections.
Always wearing clean underwear is a good way to prevent urinary tract infections.

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