You Could Have a UTI During Pregnancy and Not Even Know It
Maybe nature likes to play strange tricks on us, but for some reason, it's pretty common to have urinary tract infections (UTIs) during pregnancy and not even know it.
I know, I know, you're probably thinking I'm crazy, but it's completely and unfortunately very true. Pregnancy almost seems to “mask” a lot of the symptoms of having a UTI, and many women will simply carry on completely unaware that they have an infection of any kind.
At a routine checkup for my fourth baby, I was shocked when my OB/GYN informed me that I had a UTI. I had absolutely no symptoms whatsoever — no burning, no irritation, no increased urge to pee (well, other than pregnancy, of course), and I felt absolutely fine (well, other than pregnancy, of course). She just laughed and shook her head at me, used to many mothers like me, otherwise healthy, young, and chasing other kiddos at home because the truth is, ain't nobody got time for that. We're just too busy growing humans to notice that our body needs more attention.
But UTIs, as with any type of infection during pregnancy, are a really big deal. They can lead to serious complications during your pregnancy, such as premature labor and preeclampsia. In fact, infection is one of the leading causes of going into labor prematurely, so you have to take any infection seriously.
And while the incidence of UTIs is approximately the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women, the risk of developing a UTI is greater during pregnancy, thanks to more bacteria and increased fluid coupled with sluggish urinary vessels. Apparently, lots of things get lazy during pregnancy. More importantly, however, is the fact that if you have a UTI during pregnancy, it's also more likely to develop into a kidney infection.
This is something I know all too well because, two days after I had my first daughter, I woke up with a raging fever and uncontrollable shaking. Many tears, scares, and a week-long hospital stay later, we figured out I had a massive kidney infection from an undiagnosed UTI — I suffered permanent kidney damage as a result of that “simple” UTI and missed the entire first week of my daughter's life. I couldn't even feed her because of the high-dose antibiotics I had to be on. It was awful, and I'm convinced the stress and separation also contributed to my getting postpartum depression.
But anyways, that's another story.
The point of this one is this: be aware of the all of the symptoms of a UTI and talk to your doctor about getting regularly checked, because your symptoms may be masked during pregnancy. Be open and honest with your doctor about your risk, especially if you have a high history of UTIs.
Did you ever get a UTI during pregnancy?