(UTI) Urinary Tract Infection
Q. I am an American living in Mexico. I am six months pregnant and although I can get along pretty well in Spanish, I still have trouble with some communication with my doctor. A recent lab test proved my suspicions that I had a urinary tract infection. My doctor prescribed Pentrexyl (Ampicillin) and I finished that treatment. I still am experiencing the same symptoms (some pain and the constant feeling that I can never really finish "going"). My doctor has now prescribed Pyridium (Pirimir in Spanish) and has recommended that I take it three times a day for six days to relieve these symptoms. I have been unable to find any information on this medication that explains if it is safe during pregnancy. Do you know?
A. Reproduction studies done on rats have shown no harmful link between Pyridium and birth defects. Currently, there are no adequate studies in human pregnant women. Animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response. I think this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. It's up to you and your doctor to decide. You may try asking your doctor if there is a similar drug that you can take that has well documented information of the dangers (or a lack thereof) during pregnancy.
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Q. I am 24 weeks pregnant and was told last week that I have a urinary tract infection. I was put on an antibiotic and I go back to the doctor in two weeks for a follow-up. I have noticed a decrease in fetal movement. Can this have something to do with the antibiotics, and what are the risks factors of having a UTI while pregnant?
A. The low grade antibiotics your doctor would prescribe for a UTI should have no effect on your baby. You may notice fetal movement decreasing when the baby is at rest, in a position where you don't feel the kicks and punches as much, or when space becomes so cramped the baby doesn't have a lot of room to move. (See the other fetal movement questions for more details.)
Since you've had one UTI during pregnancy, you have about a 40 percent risk of developing another infection. Fortunately, at your frequent visits to the OB/GYN they will be checking your urine for the bacteria from a UTI amongst other things. The sooner you treat it, the better.
In the meantime, you can do a few things to minimize your chances of getting another UTI: Drink cranberry juice and plenty of water, always urinate as soon as you feel the need, clean your genital area and urinate before and after sex and wear all-cotton underwear.
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Q. I'm six months pregnant and recently I had another urinary infection. It was two weeks after I finished the first treatment for the same infection. My doctor prescribed Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride, 100mg four times for three days, and Nitrofurantoin (macrocrystals), 100mg three times for a week. After I took one tablet of Hydrochloride, I found an explanation about a contra-indication for pregnancy. Then I stopped taking it. Is this okay?
A. In most cases, these drugs are not recommended during pregnancy because it is not known for sure that they will not be detrimental to a baby's development. But, in your case, it's more important to treat and cure your urinary tract infection with the low-grade antibiotic, the Nitrofurantoin. You should check with your doctor, but you could probably stop using the Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride if you wish, as it is just used to ease the symptoms of the infection.
Q. I am 18 1/2 weeks pregnant and have gone through a lot of stress lately. I went to the doctor with bad menstrual-like cramps, back pain and leg pain. He told me I have a bladder infection. I feel that I have no symptoms of a bladder infection – no burning, frequent urination, etc. I have been told to stay off of my feet for two days now and possibly three. Do I need an ultrasound to make sure the baby is okay or does this sound like a bladder infection? I have had no bleeding.
A. Your doctor probably diagnosed your bladder infection with a urine test that showed elevated levels of bacteria. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are not immediately apparent and they can be much more frequent during pregnancy. (See the other UTI questions for more details.) The symptoms you've had may or may not be related to the infection. The cramping and back pain may be Braxton Hicks contractions, which are normal at this point in the pregnancy. The leg pain is also a very common ailment. (See "Braxton Hicks contractions" and "leg pains" for more information.)