Urinary tract infections are never fun, but what happens if you get a UTI when you're pregnant? It usually depends on how bad the infection is, and how fast you catch it. But first, what is a UTI and how can you get one when you're pregnant?
As you probably already knew, your urinary tract is responsible for removing extra liquid waste and water from your body. A UTI happens when bacteria from the intestines or feces enters the urinary tract. Unfortunately, according to What To Expect, pregnant women are at high risk for developing UTIs. The compression your growing uterus places on your bladder (conveniently located directly under your uterus) doesn't make matters easier and, in turn, makes your body more susceptible for bacteria growth. Other things like sex, hormonal changes, and Group B strep can put pregnant women more at risk for developing a UTI as well.
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) described the most common symptoms of a bladder infection as pain during urination, frequent urination (more frequent anyway,) blood in the urine, cramping in your lower abdomen, pain during sex, cloudy urine, or pain when you press on your lower abdomen.
If you do develop a UTI when you're pregnant, it's important to try to rid your body of the infection as soon as possible. Although the infection is usually just in your urethra (which is painful enough) if it gets out of hand, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, which can put baby (and you) at risk. If a UTI becomes a kidney infection, it can lead to preterm labor and low birth weight, as well as added discomfort and a lowered immune system for you.
UTIs can make you miserable — I should know, I had multiple UTIs with each of my pregnancies and even landed myself in the hospital with a kidney infection once. With the added risk for pregnant women, the APA recommends that women do everything they can to prevent a UTI from happening in the first place. Be sure to drink plenty of water, urinate before and after sex, reduce your sugar and caffeine intake, and urinate as soon as you have to (ie. don't hold it.) If you do develop an infection, your OB can prescribe you an antibiotic to fight the infection and it should take care of it within a week.