“UTI” stands for urinary tract infection; UTIs are bacterial infections that tend to strike more often during pregnancy. Bacteria can multiply quickly in areas where urine is blocked from moving along due to your expanding uterus. Some UTIs have no symptoms, and you'll only discover that you have one when your doctor does a urine test at a monthly visit. But some UTIs make themselves known, with symptoms like:
- Burning or pain when you pee
- A more urgent desire to pee or a desire to pee more often
- Cramps in the lower part of your abdomen
- Urine that has a strong smell or cloudy urine
If you have a UTI, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for the type of bacteria found when a lab studied your urine sample. Your doctor will only prescribe an antibiotic that’s safe for use during pregnancy, so don’t worry about whether they’re safe to take.
But what can you do to avoid getting a UTI? Here are some steps you can take to decrease your chances of getting one during your pregnancy:
- Make sure to drink lots of water (cranberry juice that doesn’t have sugar is also a good choice)
- Check to see what color your pee is: if it's dark, it means you’re not drinking enough water (if you’re dehydrated, you may be a higher risk for a UTI.)
- If you have to pee, don't hold it
- Make sure that you empty your bladder completely (it helps to lean forward when peeing).
- Wipe from front to back
- Avoid using sprays, powders, and douches.
- Wear cotton underwear
- Take showers, not baths. If you do take a bath, make sure that your tub is really clean. And, stay away from bubble baths.
Call your doctor right away if you have the signs of a UTI.