Bladder infection is a bacteria infection that causes inflammation in the bladder. This is also called cystitis or a urinary tract infection. The urinary tract runs from the kidneys to the bladder to the urethra. A bladder infection results when bacteria enter the urethra and travels to the bladder. If the infection continues up the tract to the kidneys, the condition is far more serious.
The condition is fairly common, affecting about five percent of pregnant women. Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy cause women to be slightly more at risk of developing the infection when they are pregnant. Symptoms include burning during urination and frequent urination.
Treatment usually involves antibiotics that are safe for use in pregnancy. Vitamin C and cranberry juice are also helpful. It is important to get treatment for bladder infection, since it can contribute to preterm labor or result in a kidney infection, which is more serious. Physical changes in pregnancy make it easier for the infection to find its way to the kidneys when treatment is delayed.
Fortunately, bladder infection can often be prevented with some dietary and lifestyle precautions. A variety of foods are believed to be beneficial for preventing bladder, or urinary tract infections. Some to include in your diet: yogurt, cranberry juice, leeks and garlic. Avoid acidic foods such as sugar, tea, coffee and other junk foods. Drink plenty of water.
In addition to diet, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that will reduce your risk of contracting a bladder infection in pregnancy. Wear cotton underwear. Bubble bath can irritate and contribute to bladder infections, so skip the bath or don’t use bubbles or other soap. Wiping front to back when using the bathroom and washing after sex are other simple changes that can help prevent infection.