Various health complications are associated with pregnancy. There are some complications that are more likely to be suffered by pregnant women compared to those who are not expecting. One of the most common complications is kidney infection during pregnancy, which is also referred as acute pyelonephritis. This pregnancy problem affects one to three percent of pregnant women and can be fatal if left unnoticed or untreated.
Why kidney infection is common during pregnancy
Women who are expecting undergo various changes to their physiology. These physiological changes affect various aspects of pregnant women body and health, including secretion system and urination, to be more specific. In normal secretion process, the ureters—located between the kidney and bladder—help transfer the urine from the urinary tract to the bladder. When a woman is pregnant, a high concentration of progesterone occurs in her body, causing inhibited works of various parts of the body, including the ureter. When a high level of progesterone presents, contraction of these drainage ducts in the secretion system is inhibited. As a result, the ureter in pregnant women works slower than those in women who are not pregnant.
In addition to this excessive level of progesterone, the uterus grows larger during each trimester, compressing the ureters. Since the ureters are compressed, proper drainage from the kidney is distracted. In some cases, a much slower reaction of the ureters leads to stagnant urine in the kidney. If the urine is not washed out from the body immediately, it is possible for the bacteria from the bladder to migrate to the kidneys, increasing the risk of infestation and infection. These causal bacteria thus overgrow inside the kidney, causing the occurrence of infection symptoms.
How to treat kidney infection during pregnancy
Any health problems interrupting pregnancy should be taken care immediately. In general, women suffering from kidney infection during pregnancy should be hospitalized so that the symptoms can be watched more closely. In the hospital, you will be given intravenous antibiotics, which is safe for both the mother and baby. Cefazolin and ceftriaxone are two common IV antibiotics that are used for pregnancy kidney infection. If these antibiotics do not work, the doctor is going to give you stronger antibiotics called gentamicin as your further treatment.
In few cases, obstruction to the kidney, such as the formation of kidney stone makes it difficult for the given antibiotics to get rid of the infestation bacteria. If this is what happens to you, you will first have the obstructive problems gotten rid of before given further medications. Once the infection is improved, you will be given oral antibiotics that are also safe for the baby. These antibiotics need to be finished or otherwise, might cause bacterial resistance.
Preventing kidney infection during pregnancy
Some steps can be taken in order to minimize the risk of developing kidney infection during pregnancy. These prevention methods include:
- Drink plenty of water. Eight glasses of water per day are advised for expecting mothers. This will promote sufficient blood flow to the ureters. Insufficient blood flow to the ureters will likely to cause slower urine processing and hence, increase the risk of having a bacterial infestation.
- Do not ignore the urge to pee. It is also important to empty your bladder completely when urinating.
- Keep your genital area clean with mild soap and water. The clean genital area will have less thriving bacteria that may possibly cause infection to the kidney and urinary tract.
- After a bowel movement, wipe yourself from front to back. This will prevent bacteria from the stool to migrate to the urinary tract.
- Drink cranberry juice regularly. Cranberries can reduce bacteria level and discourage potential bacteria from moving into the urinary tract.
- Avoid harsh feminine products and wipes that may aggravate your genital area. An irritated genital area can be a perfect region for potential bacteria to thrive and breed, putting you at a higher risk of having urinary tract and kidney infection.
- Go to the doctor immediately after observing mild symptoms of urinary tract infection, such as pain while urinating or blood spots in your urine. Do not wait until the symptoms get worse, which can be harmful to both you and the baby.