A woman may get a urinary tract infection when bacteria enter her urethra and cause an infection. A woman’s urinary tract can be a breeding ground for bacteria, more so during pregnancy. UTIs are common during pregnancy. When the uterus expands during pregnancy, its weight can partially block the drainage of urine from the bladder which might lead to an infection.
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of UTIs between the 6th and 24th week of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, your doctor might suggest you urinalysis or urine culture to detect UTI during pregnancy. If the test results are positive, obviously you will worry as you should because it requires immediate treatment or else it might damage the kidneys. Consulting a doctor is a must but you can also try some home remedial measures to get rid of this infection. There are some natural remedies apart from the conventional treatment which can help prevent and treat UTI. But before we discuss natural remedies for UTI, let’s acquaint you with its symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of a UTI
If you have a UTI, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms and you must inform your doctor about the same.
- Blood or mucus in the urine
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Abdominal pain
- Fever and incontinence
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- The urge to urinate frequently
Natural Remedies for a UTI During Pregnancy
Despite the body’s natural defences, certain fungi, bacteria, and viruses enter the urinary tract and inhabit the bladder, urethra, and the urinary tract. Most urinary tract infections, especially the lower urinary tract infection often subside on their own. But when they don’t, antibiotics are prescribed as the first line of treatment. However, these should be strictly avoided during pregnancy. A better option to treat UTI while pregnant is natural remedies for the same. Here are some ways to treat UTI at home.
1. Increase Your Fluid Intake
Drinking plenty of water and fluids daily can help flush out bacteria from your urinary tract by making you pee more and also prevent infection. To keep your body hydrated, drink water throughout the day and whenever you feel thirsty. This way the bacteria will be flushed out of your system, and lessen the chances of an infection.
2. Urinate Frequently
During pregnancy, you must urinate often so that bacteria do not grow inside the bladder. If a person holds back urine for a long time, bacteria can multiply in the urinary tract, leading to an infection. But if you urinate frequently, it will put pressure on the bacteria and help clear them out from your bladder. So pee often and prevent and treat UTIs.
3. Take Probiotics
Probiotics support the human body’s flora which is used as a defence for the body. They promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut (keeping it free from harmful bacteria). Fermented foods like kimchi, probiotic yoghurt, and raw cheese are some of the healthiest probiotic foods. Eating these foods can help restore your body’s bacteria content without causing any disease.
4. Drink Cranberry Juice
Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the best remedies for UTIs. Cranberries help prevent UTI from entering the urinary tract and thus preventing infection. Cranberry juice can also help prevent the growth of bacteria that might cause infection.
5. Use Clove Oil
Clove oil is known for its antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The anti-bacterial properties of clove oil help kill E.coli and prevent the chances of UTI. Topical application of clove oil can help prevent urogenital infections. However, using clove oil can also result in some adverse reactions on the body. Hence, it is suggested that you use it only after consulting with a doctor and under the supervision of your health care provider.
6. Increase Your Vitamin C Intake
Increasing your Vitamin C intake can reduce the chances of E. coli and prevent urinary tract infections. Vitamin C is believed to increase the acidic level of urine, which kills the bacteria that cause infections. It also strengthens the immune system. You can eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C. Red peppers, oranges, and kiwi are a good source of Vitamin C. Include them in your diet after consulting with a doctor and a nutritionist.
How to Prevent UTIs
Mentioned below are some tips that can help you prevent a urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Even if you have a urinary tract infection, you can follow these steps to prevent it from worsening.
1. Wear Loose Clothes
Wear light and loose-fitting clothes and innerwear to allow the air to pass and to keep the urethra dry. Also, wipe yourself dry from front to back after any bowel movement to ensure that bacteria don’t get into the urethra.
2. Eat Healthy Foods
Eat healthy food and lead a healthy lifestyle. Consult a dietician and ask what you can eat during pregnancy. Avoid eating unhealthy food at all cost.
3. Avoid Using Feminine Hygiene Products
Do not use perfumed products, powders, or douches as these can irritate the already vulnerable area and worsen the condition.
4. Avoid Using Spermicides
Use lubricated condoms which do not have spermicides. The incidence of UTIs is high among women who are sexually active. So if you are having sex with your partner, be careful.
5. Use Lubricants
Use a lubricant while having sex with your partner, as excess friction while having sex can cause micro-trauma to the urethral mucosa and facilitate the ascent of bacteria.
6. Treat Vaginal Infections
Treat vaginal infections effectively as concomitant vaginal infection often precipitates a urinary tract infection. So if you have a vaginal infection, get it treated in time and lower your chances of a UTI.
UTI is generally caused by bacteria which enter through the urogenital tract and cause pain and discomfort. The recurring nature of the disease adds to the risk of bacteria developing drug resistance. They precipitate undesirable side effects too, so you can try these home remedies to get rid of it. However, do consult your doctor before trying out these home remedies – when pregnant it is best that you speak to your doctor about every little thing and stay safe!