Bladder infection during pregnancy, if left untreated, can be dangerous for the mother and the unborn child’s health. Read on to know the causes, symptoms and treatment for the same.
Bladder infection refers to the inflammation of the bladder caused due to a bacterial infection. Also known as cystitis, it is a common occurrence in women who are sexually active and also, in women who are pregnant. Bladder infection usually occurs when the bacteria from the intestines travel to the bladder, passing through the rectum and the urethra. Alternately, the bacteria remain restricted to the urinary tract and continue to breed there. Bladder infection can create many health complications during pregnancy and hence needs timely medical assistance.
Bladder infection during early pregnancy is pretty common. This is because of the growing size of the uterus, which puts extra pressure on the bladder, thereby making the emptying of urine from the bladder slightly difficult. When the urine is not drained properly, it accumulates for a longer time in the bladder, making the bacteria to multiply and hence, cause an infection in the pregnant woman.
- Increased frequency of urination
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Blood in urine
- Abdominal cramping and pain, restricted to the lower part
- Pain and tenderness around the bladder
- Having slight fever, accompanied by chills
- Foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting, especially if the infection has spread to the kidneys
If the infection has been confirmed through an urinalysis, the first treatment that the doctors recommend is a course of antibiotics, which helps in getting rid of the bacteria. This course in most cases is of one week. Post treatment, urinalysis is done again to confirm that the infection has been completely wiped out. A pregnant woman who has had a bladder infection once, should get herself tested for it throughout the pregnancy to avoid its re-occurrence.
If by any chance she faces recurring infections in the bladder, doctors recommend the woman to keep on taking antibiotics till the child is delivered. Besides these treatments, there are a number of precautions a woman can follow along with the treatment to get better fast and to avoid bladder infection from occurring in future. Here are some of these.
- Eat a simple healthy diet and avoid refined foods, high sugar foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Increase the water intake to more than two liters a day.
- Drink one glass of cranberry juice everyday. Cranberry juice helps in reducing the bacteria to a great extent.
- Take Vitamin supplements such as vitamin C , Beta-carotene and Zinc, which help in fighting the infection.
- If the treatment for urinary tract infection or bladder infection is going on, avoid indulging in intercourse.
- Always keep the genital area clean, especially after urinating by wiping properly with a tissue.
- Avoid using cosmetics with strong chemicals such as soaps, creams, powders and hygiene sprays.
- Wear cotton panties, change them everyday and avoid wearing the ones which are tight fitting.
If detected early, bladder infection can be treated effectively. However, if the bladder infection leads up to a kidney infection, it can cause many complications which are dangerous to both, the mother and the child, such as low birth weight and premature labor. Hence, consulting the doctor immediately upon experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, during pregnancy, is recommended.