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Urinary Tract Infections

The urinary tract, including the kidneys and bladder, gets rid of liquid waste in your body.

When bacteria get inside the urinary tract and multiply, you can develop an infection. Most often, infections start in the bladder (cystitis) or urethra (urethritis).

Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) occurs when bacteria travel up the ureters to the kidneys. Because of the risk of kidney infection, you will have a urine culture at your first prenatal visit.


  • A strong and frequent urge to urinate
  • Sharp pain or a burning sensation when you urinate
  • You may produce very little urine, which may be tinged with blood, be cloudy, or smell bad.
  • Your lower abdomen, back, or sides may be sore.
  • If the bacteria enter the ureters and spread to the kidneys, you may develop back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Impact on pregnancy

  • Bladder infections may irritate the uterus and cause contractions.
  • Kidney infections pose a significant risk to your health, and they may cause preterm labor and delivery. You may need antibiotics to prevent future infections.
  • Most medications for routine bladder infections are safe to use during pregnancy.
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