Early pregnancy can come with its fair share of challenges: nausea, exhaustion and urinary tract infections (UTIs). About 8 percent of pregnant women get UTIs, and many more are found to have bacteria in their urine without symptoms, so-called “asymptomatic bacteriuria,” which can later lead to infection.
UTIs, characterized by a burning sensation and frequent urination, are not just uncomfortable — they can also be dangerous. These conditions are more common in the first trimester of pregnancy and pose risks to both the mother and the developing baby. Asymptomatic bacteriuria has been associated with premature birth, low birth weight and death in newborn and developing babies. Advanced urinary tract infections that spread to the kidney can cause serious illness in women, putting both the mom and baby in danger.
But the treatment for UTIs may be risky as well.
Pregnant women get screened frequently for UTIs with routine urine checks and are treated with antibiotics if bacteria is found in the urine, even if they have no symptoms.
In 2011, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the nation’s leading women’s health organization, recommended against the use two types of antibiotics — sulfonamides and nitrofurantoin — in the first trimester of pregnancy, unless there are no other alternatives available (if, for example, the mom is allergic).
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Issue: 11 Volume: 5