Blad­der in­fec­tions

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

How to treat them safely

Why does it seem like you’re more prone to blad­der in­fec­tions while you’re preg­nant? Well, preg­nancy doesn’t cause blad­der in­fec­tions, but it does make you more at risk of de­vel­op­ing one. That’s be­cause preg­nancy hor­mones cause changes in the uri­nary tract. “Preg­nancy hor­mones in­clud­ing pro­ges­terone lead to a re­lax­ation of the blad­der’s mus­cu­la­ture and de­layed emp­ty­ing. This leads to an in­creased risk of ac­quir­ing an in­fec­tion,” ex­plains Dr Jana Ros­souw, a spe­cial­ist in gy­nae­col­ogy and ob­stet­rics at Tyger­berg Hos­pi­tal in Cape Town. A grow­ing uterus also presses on the blad­der and pre­vents it emp­ty­ing com­pletely, which cre­ates a pool of urine where bac­te­ria can flour­ish.


Gen­er­ally, the same ad­vice that ap­plies when you’re not preg­nant re­mains true when you’re ex­pect­ing. It’s im­por­tant to stay hy­drated by drink­ing enough wa­ter daily – and this is par­tic­u­larly true in preg­nancy. Cur­rent ad­vice is to drink at least eight glasses of wa­ter a day – ap­prox­i­mately 1.5L of liq­uids. Cran­berry juice has an anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fect and may help pre­vent blad­der in­fec­tions – it con­tains a sub­stance that pre­vents E.coli bac­te­ria from stick­ing to the walls of the blad­der – but con­sult your healthcare provider be­fore tak­ing cran­berry sup­ple­ments. Cran­berry juice is also not a sub­sti­tute for an­tibi­otic treat­ment of an in­fec­tion.

And it may be an old joke that preg­nant women al­ways need the toi­let, but don’t try to hold it in – fre­quent uri­na­tion is im­por­tant, as is tak­ing your time to make sure you empty your blad­der com­pletely. Need­less to say, gen­eral per­ineal hy­giene is of the ut­most im­por­tance, in­clud­ing al­ways wip­ing from the front to the back, wear­ing cot­ton un­der­wear, and avoid­ing douches and strong soap. Other ad­vice in­cludes emp­ty­ing your blad­der be­fore and af­ter sex, and avoid­ing tight cloth­ing.


A blad­der in­fec­tion will need treat­ment with an­tibi­otics. For­tu­nately, many com­mon an­tibi­otics are safe for use dur­ing preg­nancy and your

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