Did you just a bring a human into this world after nine grueling months? Congratulations! If so, you know first-hand that pregnancy affects the body in many ways, and these changes affect you even after you’ve given birth. Here’s what you need to know about treating and preventing UTIs while breastfeeding.
Why do you get UTIs postpartum?
- All that time there was a growing bowling ball—we mean— baby putting pressure on your bladder, it was difficult for you to completely empty your bladder when urinating. Post-labor, it may take some time for your bladder to regain its “tone” i.e. strength, and its ability to empty entirely when urinating. The longer urine stays in your body, the easier it is for bacteria to multiply, hence, the higher chance of a UTI.
- Your pelvic floor muscles keep the urethra closed so that urine doesn’t leak out. However, during pregnancy and labor, these muscles become overworked or injured, making it harder to control your urine flow. This also makes it easier for urine to remain in your urinary tract and cause a UTI.
- While you’re lactating, you produce less estrogen, and the vaginal mucosa is thinner. This thinned-out mucosa makes it easier for bacteria to enter the urethra, and migrate up to your bladder.
Contact your physician if you are experiencing these symptoms. They will provide you with a urinalysis or urine culture in order to properly diagnose you.
- Painful, burning urination.
- Cloudy, murky, or bloody urine
- Lower back pain, lower abdominal pain.
- Frequent urination or the frequent urge to urinate but only a few drops come out.
- Only urinating small amounts
- Fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting
How serious is a UTI while breastfeeding?
Pediatrician, Dr. Laura R. Viehmann, wrote for BabyCenter, “Yes, it's safe to breastfeed when you have most common infections – a cold, say, or the stomach flu...Other common infections that present no problem for breastfeeding are urinary tract infections, small skin infections that aren't on the breast, and infections in the mouth (like a cavity).”
It’s vital to contact your doctor if you are experiencing UTI symptoms to keep the infection from spreading. Kristine E. Whitmore, MD, clinical associate professor of urology at Medical College of Pennsylvania-Hahnemann in Philadelphia, cautions if a UTI is left untreated, it could develop into a kidney infection. Kidney infections can lead to a blood infection (sepsis), which could be life-threatening for you, or your baby.
Is it safe to take antibiotics while breastfeeding?
The only way to cure a UTI is with antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe you a 3 to 7-day course of antibiotics. To keep the infection from coming back, make sure you take every last pill even if you are no longer experiencing symptoms.
While it’s true mothers do pass on a small amount of medication through breast milk, the concentration is below the maximum safe levels for infants.
Most antibiotics prescribed to breastfeeding mothers have received the seal of approval from the American Academy of Pediatrics, but it's worth noting that not all antibiotics should be used while breastfeeding. This list of breastfeeding safe antibiotics and antibiotics to avoid may come in handy.
The Journal of Family Practice notes that some antibiotics taken by breastfeeding mothers could occasionally have adverse effects on their infants, for example, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole may cause poor feeding and nitrofurantoin may cause diarrhea. Speak with your physician thoroughly about which option is best for you and your infant.
How can I lessen my chances of getting another UTI?
- Take the prescribed antibiotics exactly as your physician prescribes. It is important to take the entire course to completely eliminate the infection and prevent it from coming back.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid sitting in a bath, shower instead.
- Ditch the douches, feminine sprays, and harsh soaps in the genital area.
- Wear cotton underwear, go commando at night.
- Urinate after sex. Do not have sex while being treated for a UTI.
- Wipe front to back.
- Drink Uqora—an effective way to cause out UTI-causing bacteria using natural, safe ingredients, wihch is safe to use during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and for women of all ages.
As a new mom, or as a mother welcoming another child, it can be difficult to stay on top of your urinary health when there are so many other things occupying your mind. You’re a superhuman in a mere mortal’s body, but you still might need some extra help with it comes to UTI prevention. That's where we come in! Try Uqora to stay UTI-free.