What I Wish I Had Known About UTIs Before Pregnancy

It was a month or so before Bella’s due date that I ended up in the hospital late one night with the possibility of delivering her early.

It all started one day when I got the chills. Only a few minutes later, I had to stop what I was doing because I felt almost dizzy. That entire day I got the chills off and on, but I brushed it off as being cold since it was winter.

Fast forward 12 hours when I started to get really strong contractions. I thought they could be Braxton Hicks, but they seemed to get closer and closer together. I was kind of concerned that maybe there was something wrong, so I began to time the contractions. Mind you, they did not hurt, but they made my belly extremely tight and hard. As I started to time them, they did in fact get closer together and they also were not that far apart. At one point, I timed about 3 or 4 minutes between contractions. Everything I ever read said that when you get between 3 and 4 minutes apart, you are pretty much in labor and should head to the hospital.

So that’s what we did.

I called my parents to come stay with Sofía, and my husband and I hopped into the car and went to the hospital. When we got there, I told them what had been happening since that morning and they sent me to a room to evaluate my condition.

As I was waiting for a nurse to come in and was laying on the bed, I noticed that the contractions were no longer as strong as they had been just 15 minutes before. They took a pee sample and checked my cervix. I was dilated about 2 cm already. She said we would have to wait an hour before checking again to see my progress. During that hour, my husband watched some TV and I tried to get some sleep. It was already 2 AM at this point.

When she returned, she checked my progress and said that I was at 3 cm now.

This was getting real. I could have the baby that day.

She said that my urine test came back showing that I had a urinary tract infection. A UTI. Ugh.

So they had to administer some fluids to me because I was a bit dehydrated and I had to get some antibiotics for the UTI.

An hour later, the nurse checked on me again and I was still at 3 cm. She said, though, that it almost felt like it was only 2 cm again. They wanted to check with my doctor before they sent me home, though, so we waited yet another hour to find out if we would be having this baby today or if we could go home soon.

Finally, at about 6:30 AM, we got the clearance to leave the hospital. It was a long night of worrying and thinking that we could possibly be delivering this baby much earlier than expected.

Unfortunately, my doctor forgot to write a prescription for my antibiotics so the next day I began to experience the same exact sensations I had the first time: chills, contractions, and really hard belly. I called his office and they got the prescription sent to my pharmacy right away.

Take it from me: you don't want a UTI during pregnancy. If I had known how to prevent one and what the effects are, I would have been more diligent about caring for my body and baby.I was lucky that my UTI didn’t become something much worse and affect my kidneys. I am also so grateful that my baby was able to stay inside of me for longer so we wouldn’t have to deal with the NICU again.

Apparently, it’s not uncommon to get a UTI during pregnancy. I think the reason why I got a UTI is because I tend to hold my pee for much too long. In both of my pregnancies, I’ve never had to get up in the middle of the night to pee because I am so used to just holding it all night long. That is really, really bad.

I was pretty much oblivious to UTIs before this experience. I had no idea what they were, what caused them, nor did I know what I could do to potentially prevent them. So to help any pregnant woman out, I want to give you these answers from research I have done.

What Is a UTI Anyways?

A UTI, or Urinary Tract Infection, is when some part of your urinary tract becomes infected. Generally, the higher up the infection has spread, the more serious it can be. Please read more about UTIs HERE or see my list of sources at the bottom of the post.

I’m no doctor, but my guess as to why many women get UTIs while pregnant is because one of the symptoms is a “strong, persistant urge to urinate” which can easily be confused with just being pregnant. I think that was pretty much my only symptom until the chills started happening.

What Causes a UTI, Especially During Pregnancy?

A UTI starts when bacteria gets in your urinary tract.

Women are more likely than men to get a UTI. Because of hormone changes during pregnancy and the fact that the uterus is pressing on the bladder, pregnant women are more likely to get a UTI than someone who is not pregnant.

How to Prevent a UTI During Pregnancy?

There are several ways a pregnant woman can prevent a UTI from happening. Be diligent about all of them during pregnancy, and you will likely never have a UTI.

  • Drink your water. Remember that pregnant women should drink at least 8 cups a day.
  • Go pee often (never hold it like I do), even if you don’t feel like you need to go.
  • Wipe front to back to avoid getting bacteria into your urinary tract.
  • Pee after any exercise, especially sex. You should also drink a cup of water to help flush out any bacteria.
  • Take showers rather than baths.

What Happens if You Don’t See a Doctor and You Have a UTI?

The need to see a doctor is very urgent if you develop a UTI. One of the reasons you pee in a cup at prenatal visits is to test and see if you have a UTI since they can come without symptoms. If you don’t get a UTI treated in time it can lead to preterm labor (which is what started happening to me). Ultimately, the pregnant woman could develop a kidney infection, which might cause permanent damage. Any of the symptoms of a UTI should never be ignored.

Have you ever experienced a UTI during pregnancy?

This is an informational post only. It is not intended to replace medical advice.

10 Ways to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections” by Tracee Cornforth on About.com (Health)
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Women” by John L. Brusch on Medscape
Urinary Tract Infections During Pregnancy” on What to Expect
Urinary Tract Infection Fact Sheet” reviewed by Magda Barini-García, M.D., M.P.H. and Kristene Whitmore, M.D. on Women’s Health
What Are the Effects of a UTI in Pregnancy?” by Suzanne Robin on Live Strong
 Photo credit: “Woman Pregnant Maternity Pregnancy Mom Expecting” by Greyerbaby on Pixabay
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  1. Just an awful thing to experience whether you’re pregnant or not. Great tips. Drinking cranberry juice & eating probiotic yogurt is a good way to keep a UTI away as well.

  2. Mama instincts says:

    This is so interesting. I’ve never had a UTI but I see women posting and asking about this all the time. I think it could easily happen any time when you’re pregnant. I’m going to share this with all my pregnant friends. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much! I saw one statistic that claimed 40% of all women will get a UTI at one time in their lives. I don’t know how many pregnant women will, but it’s gotta be pretty high. Do what you can to prevent one now!


  1. […] before Bella was born, I was having contractions, but they didn’t hurt (just like when I had my UTI the month before). Very uncomfortable, but no real screaming […]

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