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Urinary infection in pregnancy, a risk to the fetus

Urinary infection in pregnancy, a risk to the fetus

Women are more likely to suffer a urinary infection than men; If the infection also occurs during pregnancy, it can have serious consequences for the mother and child. The urinary infection is caused by the invasion of microorganisms in the urinary system (urethra, bladder and kidney); It is one of the most common pathologies in pregnancy , although it is not entirely clear that there is a direct relationship between being pregnant and developing cystitis; However, during pregnancy there are a series of changes in the body that may increase the risk of suffering a kidney infection or pyelonephritis:

  • The segregation of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy relaxes the muscles of the ureters (the pathways that connect the bladder and kidneys) by dilating them and causing the flow of urine to slow down, so it takes longer to pass through the urinary tract. and it increases the risk of bacteria reproducing and acting.
  • Progesterone also causes relaxation of the bladder muscles, making it more difficult to empty it completely and increasing the risk of urine reflux , which can cause the urine to rise again to the kidneys.
  • During pregnancy, the pH of the urine changes, becomes less acidic and more prone to contain glucose , thus increasing the risk of bacterial growth.

Pyelonephritis is one of the most common serious complications during pregnancy . Its risk lies in the possibility that the infection spreads to the bloodstream, which would be extremely dangerous for both the mother and the fetus . For this reason, urinalysis is one of the most frequent tests in routine prenatal check-ups. The risk of getting a kidney infection increases in pregnant women because many of the women who have it do not have symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria, and it is very frequent. When you are not pregnant, this situation does not usually cause problems, as it often goes away on its own; However, during pregnancy, if left untreated, it increases the risk of developing pyelonephritis.

Risks to the fetus

The renal infection in pregnant women is very related to the complications that can appear both in the birth and in the gestation of the fetus, since it increases the risk of premature birthand premature contractions, it can slow the intrauterine growth, it increases the risk of that rupture the membranes of the uterus and, in some occasions, it has come to be related to cases of fetal death . In addition, it increases the risk of the baby being born with low weight and with anemia .

How to know if you have a urinary infection?

The   most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating.
  • The need to urinate more frequently than usual and the impossibility of urinating even if you feel like it. Keep in mind that urinary incontinence is very common during pregnancy without having an infection.
  • Turbidity, bad smell or presence of blood in the urine.

If this symptomatology appears, it is necessary to go to the doctor to receive an antibiotictreatment that is safe for both the mother and the fetus.

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Urinary infection in pregnancy, a risk to the fetus


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