Urinary Tract Infection in Pregnancy: Care Instructions

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Female urinary system

Your Care Instructions

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection of the bladder and other urinary structures. Most UTIs occur in the bladder. They often cause pain or burning when you urinate. UTI is the most common bacterial infection in pregnancy. If untreated, a UTI could lead to problems such as a kidney infection or preterm labor.

Most UTIs can be cured with antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic that is safe during pregnancy. Be sure to finish your medicine so that the infection does not spread to your kidneys.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Drink extra water and other fluids for the next day or two. This will help wash out the bacteria causing the infection. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Urinate often. Try to empty your bladder each time.

Preventing UTIs

  • Drink plenty of fluids. This helps you urinate often, which clears bacteria from your system. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Urinate when you first have the urge.
  • Urinate right after you have sex. This is the best way for women to avoid UTIs.
  • When going to the bathroom, wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from entering the vagina or urethra.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of a worse urinary tract infection. These may include:
    • Pain or burning when you urinate.
    • A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
    • Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
    • Blood in your urine.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.