So you and your partner have been trying to conceive, which means lots of planned sex during your “fertile window.” (Not to mention other times throughout the month.) And what often happens with a lot of sex? Yep — a urinary tract infection (UTI). But can you get pregnant if you have a UTI, or will the infection prevent conception?
It's not exactly birth control — having a UTI doesn't affect fertility and you can get still pregnant if you have one, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). In fact, the APA noted that pregnancy can even cause a UTI because of the changes your uterus is going through and its weight on your bladder, preventing all of the urine from exiting. It doesn't affect conception whatsoever, but it can affect other important things if left untreated.
Though you can technically get pregnant while you have a UTI, Kristen Burris, L.Ac, a women’s health acupuncturist and infertility specialist, says in an email interview with Romper that you do run the risk of getting a kidney infection if your UTI is left untreated, and this is actually much more severe and dangerous to you and your unborn baby if you do become pregnant. Once you discover you have a UTI, it’s important to seek help from your healthcare provider, whether you want to go to a holistic provider or your OB-GYN for a round of antibiotics. “Acupuncture and herbal medicine treat UTIs effectively and quickly. If you get a fever or the natural medicine does not improve your symptoms within four days, that warrants a visit to your OB-GYN,” Burris says.
What about other issues “down there” that can cause infertility or other problems with pregnancy? If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can affect your uterus and other reproductive organs from the rising bacteria, according to Burris. “Chronic bacterial vaginosis can lead to pelvic inflammatory condition, which can cause infertility problems and potentially a miscarriage. Any known infection should always be addressed before trying to get pregnant, as drug options are more limited during pregnancy,” she says.
As for the dreaded yeast infection? “Research hasn’t proven that yeast infections cause infertility, however, in my 17 years of experience in private practice, women with chronic yeast infections tend to have a more difficult time conceiving than women who rarely experience them and are often diagnosed as having unexplained infertility," Burris says.
Other issues that can cause infertility include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma genitalium (MG), she adds. MG is a newer STD, and it causes inflammatory reproductive tract problems in women and urethritis in men.
For every new sexual partner, it’s a good idea to have screening done for STDs, and when you’re TTC, it’s really important to make sure everything is in the clear down there. While you can get pregnant with a UTI, it’s best not to try, just in case you can’t take certain antibiotics while you’re pregnant for the safety of your baby. If you suspect something is amiss, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to make sure everything is in tip-top shape before TTC.