Kidney Infection in Pregnancy

Pyelonephritis and pregnancy

Amongst the lots of modifications that take place in the body during pregnancy is an increase in the danger of establishing an infection of the urinary tract. The hormone changes in addition to the physical changes exerted by the enlarging uterus can result in a stagnation of the passage of urine through the urinary tract as well as to vesicouteral reflux, a condition in which urine in the bladder backs up, or refluxes, back into the ureters (the tubes that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder).


The hormone progesterone is accountable for weather changes in action of the smooth muscle walls of the ureters, and the weight of the uterus itself can cause urinary retention. There is even more an expansion of blood volume and increased load on the kidneys in pregnant women, leading to enhanced urine output in the face of reduced movement of the ureters. Lastly, pregnant women tend to have greater urinary levels of glucose than nonpregnant women. All of these modifications predispose to infection within the urinary tract.

As in nonpregnant women, urinary infections can occur in the urethra or bladder or may infect the kidneys (pyelonephritis). Most of infections come from existing bacteria in the vaginal and anal areas that spread up (likewise described retrograde) through the urinary system.

Thankfully, urinary infections in pregnancy are readily treatable. Even though pregnant women might be worried about taking prescription medications, there are a variety of antibiotics that work in treating kidney and urinary tract infections that are understood to be safe for both mother and baby. Cephalexin, ampicillin, and nitrofurantoin are examples of antibiotics that might be made use of to deal with lower urinary tract infections and cystitis in pregnant women. These medications are taken in tablet or tablet type.

Infections of the kidney (pyelonephritis) need more intensive treatment with hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. Antibiotics of the cephalosporin class or gentamycin might be securely made use of. If fever exists, acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be made use of, and there are a number of antiemetic drugs that are safe for pregnant women to take if queasiness and throwing up accompany the infection.

The diagnosis is excellent for most cases of urinary infection in pregnancy. Spread of the infection to the fetus is unusual. Similar to any disease, it is necessary for the mom to maintain sufficient hydration to prevent minimizing blood flow to the uterus during a urinary tract infection. If pyelonephritis (kidney infection) goes without treatment, maternal and fetal issues might establish including premature labor and low birth weight, so it is essential to seek healthcare when symptoms of a urinary infection are present. Pregnant women should not wait until the urinary tract infection ends up being “worse” or rely on alternative treatments to “deal with” an infection; they ought to call their doctor as quickly as symptoms occur.

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Infection (pyelonephritis)?

Generally, the first symptoms of pyelonephritis are a high fever, chills, and pain on both sides of the lower back.

In many cases, this infection causes queasiness and vomiting. Urinary symptoms are likewise common, including:

  • urinary frequency, or the have to urinate often
  • urgency, or the have to urinate instantly
  • dysuria, or painful urination
  • hematuria, or blood in the urine

What Are the Complications of Kidney Infection?

Correct treatment of kidney infection in pregnancy may avoid severe issues. However, this infection can lead to a bacterial infection in the bloodstream called sepsis. This can then infect other parts of the body and cause serious conditions needing emergency treatment.

For example, untreated of kidney infection can lead to intense breathing distress as fluid accumulates in the lungs. Pyelonephritis during pregnancy is also a leading cause of preterm labor, which puts the baby at high threat for major problems and even death.

Like a variety of other infections during pregnancy, neglected pyelonephritis can cause preterm delivery, which is the leading reason for non-fatal problems and death in newborns.

Treatment of Kidney Infection in Pregnancy

As a general rule, if you establish pyelonephritis throughout pregnancy, you’ll be hospitalized for treatment. You’ll be provided intravenous antibiotics, most likely cephalosporin drugs such as cefazolin (Ancef) or ceftriaxone (Rocephin).

If your symptoms don’t improve, it may be that the bacteria triggering the infection are resistant to the antibiotic. If your doctor suspects that the antibiotic isn’t able to eliminate the bacteria, they may include an extremely strong antibiotic called gentamicin (Garamycin) to your treatment.

Obstruction within the urinary tract is the other main cause of treatment failure. It’s normally triggered by a kidney stone or a physical compression of the ureter by the growing uterus during pregnancy. Urinary tract obstruction is best detected through an X-ray or an ultrasound of your kidneys.

As soon as your condition begins to enhance, you might be enabled to leave the hospital. You’ll be offered oral antibiotics for seven to 10 days. Your doctor will select your medication based upon its effectiveness, toxicity, and cost. Drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Septra, Bactrim) or nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) are typically prescribed.

Reoccurring infections later in pregnancy aren’t uncommon. The most economical way to lower your danger of recurrence is to take a single dose of an antibiotic everyday as a preventive procedure. Taking 1 gram of sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin) everyday or 100 milligrams of nitrofurantoin monohydrate macrocrystals (Macrobid) daily are proper options. Keep in mind that drug dosages might vary. Your doctor will prescribe what’s right for you.

If you’re taking preventive medication, you must likewise have your urine screened for bacteria each time you see your doctor. Also, make certain to inform your doctor if any symptoms return. If the symptoms return or if a urine test shows the existence of bacteria or white blood cells, you’ll have another urine culture to figure out if treatment is required.

Last Update - September 21, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures. Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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