What is the treatment for a urine infection when you are pregnant?
There are several different types of antibiotic that can help. Your doctor will choose the type most likely to help you. A seven-day course of an antibiotic is the usual treatment. Any symptoms will usually improve within a few days. However, it is very important that you complete the course of antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic used may be different when you are pregnant. The antibiotics used to treat urine infections in pregnant women are safe to take in pregnancy. They will not harm your baby.
You should see a doctor if your symptoms do not go, or if you feel worse after a few days. Some germs (bacteria) are resistant to some antibiotics. This can be identified from tests done on the urine sample. A change of antibiotic is needed if the bacterium is found to be resistant to the first antibiotic.
Note: this is a little different to the treatment of bladder infection (cystitis) in non-pregnant women. Not having any treatment is an option in non-pregnant women, as cystitis often goes without treatment. However, if you are pregnant, treatment with an antibiotic is usually advised.
You should do a further sample of urine when you have finished your antibiotics. This will check the infection has been treated properly.
Paracetamol will usually ease any pain, discomfort, or high temperature (fever).
If you have cystitis then having plenty to drink is traditional advice to flush out the bladder. However, there is no proof that this is helpful when you have cystitis. Some doctors feel that it does not help, and drinking lots may just cause more (painful) toilet trips. Therefore, it is difficult to give confident advice on whether to drink lots or just to drink normally when you have mild symptoms of cystitis. However, if you have a fever and/or feel unwell, having plenty to drink helps to prevent lack of fluid in the body (dehydration).
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- Management of suspected bacterial urinary tract infection in adults; Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network - SIGN (updated guidelines 2012)
- Guidelines on Urological Infections; European Association of Urology (2015)
- Urinary tract infection (lower) - women; NICE CKS, July 2015 (UK access only)
- Vazquez JC, Abalos E; Treatments for symptomatic urinary tract infections during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19 (1):CD002256. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002256.pub2.
- Schneeberger C, Geerlings SE, Middleton P, et al; Interventions for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Nov 14 11:CD009279. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009279.pub2.