You may notice every time you visit your OB you give a urine sample. Why is this? Your doctor is performing an urinalysis which may give early indications of kidney infection, diabetes, dehydration, and preeclampsia.  It is important for your doctor to monitor for these conditions on a regular basis as they can have serious impact on your pregnancy.
Kidney Infection During Pregnancy
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common in pregnancy, and when left untreated can lead to a more serious kidney infection. A UTI begins when bacteria is present in your urine due to exposure to feces, hormonal changes during pregnancy which slow the flow of urine, and the growing baby which may not allow you to completely empty your bladder. When urine hangs around in your bladder longer, the bacteria that is naturally present (urine is filled with your body’s waste) has a longer opportunity to cause an issue.
If you have an untreated UTI the infection can migrate up the ureters and into the kidneys. You may start to notice a pain in your side, run a high fever, feel nauseous, see blood in your urine, and experience a general feeling of malaise. If you have these symptoms, it is urgent you call your doctor as an untreated infection can lead to early labor and/or a small baby.
Kidney Infection Treatment
If you are diagnosed with a kidney infection your doctor will prescribe antibiotics which are safe to take during pregnancy.
Prevention: What to Eat to Prevent Kidney Infection
There are proactive steps you can take to avoid a kidney infection. The first is to drink plenty of fluids. The current recommendation is to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day – roughly 64-80 ounces . Aside from fluids, including antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries and cranberries will help ward off the infection. In fact, cranberry juice is the most widely studied home remedy for UTIs and has been proven to reduce the incidence of persistent infections. Other foods, such as yogurt, can give your body a boost of probiotics (good bacteria) which also helps fight off infections.