Living and Loving - - PREGNANCY & BIRTH -

Q| I have a blad­der in­fec­tion and as I am seven months preg­nant, I am not al­lowed to take any med­i­ca­tion. Can diet help?

A It’s not un­com­mon for cys­ti­tis (in­fec­tion of the blad­der) symp­toms to in­ten­sify dur­ing preg­nancy and you may find them to be even worse in the third trimester. Cys­ti­tis in preg­nancy needs to be treated be­cause of the risk of kid­ney in­fec­tion and pre-term de­liv­ery. While some blad­der-in­fec­tion med­i­ca­tion may still be safe in your third trimester, it’s vi­tal to fol­low cer­tain di­etary rec­om­men­da­tions, which can go a long way in re­duc­ing symp­toms and clear­ing up the in­fec­tion.

A great rem­edy for cys­ti­tis is cran­berry juice. En­sure that you buy pure cran­berry juice or con­cen­trate from a health shop and not com­mer­cial juice con­tain­ing only a small per­cent­age of cran­berry with mostly ap­ple or grape juice. Take about

250 to 750ml pure cran­berry juice per day un­til your symp­toms sub­side. Keep your wa­ter in­take high and eat nat­u­rally di­uretic foods like anise, cel­ery, onion, pars­ley, egg­plant, cu­cum­ber, as­para­gus, gar­lic and pep­per­mint.

Pro­bi­otic sup­ple­ments are safe dur­ing preg­nancy and can also help. Boost the good bac­te­ria in your gut by eat­ing plain nat­u­ral yo­ghurt. Cer­tain foods can ir­ri­tate the blad­der. As this sen­si­tiv­ity dif­fers from per­son to per­son, try to iden­tify these and elim­i­nate them or keep your con­sump­tion low. Keep your in­take of sugar, fried foods and pro­cessed foods low and fol­low a whole­some, bal­anced diet. Caf­feine should be avoided. Eat as lit­tle cit­rus fruit as pos­si­ble as these foods can ex­ac­er­bate your symp­toms. Bear in mind that some vi­ta­mins, par­tic­u­larly vi­ta­mins B and C, can pose prob­lems for cys­ti­tis suf­fers. An­te­na­tal vi­ta­mins can be po­tent, so should be used with cau­tion and only un­der the su­per­vi­sion of your doc­tor. Ash­leigh Caradas, di­eti­cian

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