UTIs are never a welcome complication during pregnancy, or while you're trying to get pregnant. Here we address different health complications to be aware of if you’re trying to get pregnant and are at risk for getting a UTI.
UTIs and pregnancy complications: Do UTIs increase your risk of infertility, miscarriage, and other pre-natal complications?
UTIs are commonly triggered by sexual intercourse because of the close proximity between your anus, genital area, and urinary system. Women are prone to getting UTIs more easily because they have a shorter urethra, which means it’s a shorter distance for bacteria to travel to reach the bladder.
But while UTIs are normally easily resolved, upper tract urinary tract infections involve organ systems like the kidney, uterus and pelvic area which could cause pre-natal complications. So what kind of pregnancy problems could you get from a UTI?
You can still get a UTI when you’re pregnant.
And unfortunately, UTIs are more common to get when you’re pregnant. This is a result of changes in the body system during pregnancy. Hormones that make their way to the mom’s urine make it easier to start an infection in the urinary tract. The uterus also expands during pregnancy and presses against the bladder, it makes it harder to pee; the leftover urine in the bladder becomes a bed for a potential infection.
Vaginal bacteria can also trigger recurrent UTIs when you have an imbalance of bad bacteria in your vaginal area, a symptom of BV (bacterial vaginosis). Sex can introduce bacteria that trigger dormant È.coli (a common strain of UTIs) in your bladder and lead to recurrent UTIs. BVs also change the pH of your vaginal environment to be more acidic, which can make it harder to get pregnant.
Are UTIs particularly dangerous when you’re pregnant?
UTIs are normally low risk, but during pregnancy, there is a higher risk of developing more serious health complications like symptomatic upper urinary tract infections, for both mothers and fetus. Elevated hormones and changes in your urinary tract during pregnancy make it easier for bacteria to affect other delicate systems like your kidneys. A kidney infection can cause pyelonephritis, a condition which could permanently damage your kidneys and is at a greater risk for pregnant women. This is commonly caused by a UTI strain called asymptomatic bacterium, a silent strain that doesn’t show symptoms even though there are bacteria in your system. Left untreated, this kind of infection can cause severe health issues.
Luckily, UTIs can be caught through your urine tests, and are safe to treat with antibiotics. Talk to your health physician about available pregnancy-safe antibiotics to treat your infection.
Do UTIs increase your risk of infertility or miscarriage?
There is no evidence that UTIs directly increase your risk for infertility or miscarriage. However, if your infection develops into a more serious health issue and affects your upper tract system like your kidneys, it can increase your risk for premature labor. These risks make it more likely to suffer a miscarriage, so it’s important to address and treat a UTI before it becomes worse.
There are limited studies that show a correlation between UTIs and infertility, and it is unlikely that a UTI will cause infertility. But should you get recurrent UTIs that persistently damage your upper tract system, where there are more organs involved in pregnancy, it could increase your risk of being unable to conceive.
This is why it is incredibly important to be vigilant when treating UTIs during pregnancy. Follow your healthcare professional’s recommendation for treatment to ensure that you’re getting the best care for you and your child. And, to be proactive, drink Uqora after sex or whenever you're at risk to prevent UTIs.