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Please help! Pregnancy UTI + antibiotics dilemma

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

 I am currently 15 1/2 weeks pregnant with my first child. When I went in for my first prenatal exam in early May they did a urine culture and it came back positive for UTI but I had absolutely no symptoms. My midwife office told me to take something called AzoCranberry which is a combination of cranberry powder, vitamin C and probiotics. I also have a diet rich in probiotic foods like cultured beverages, lacto-fermented veggies, and raw dairy products. I took the AzoCranberry for a while, and after several weeks of still no symptoms I decided to stop taking it and see what my next culture said. I went in for my second appointment last week and did the urine culture again. My midwife office called me today to tell me I "still" have the infection, with a higher concentration in the culture. I have still never had a symptom! How can I be sick but not be sick? The tech said to start taking the AzoCranberry stuff again and that she would wait to talk to the midwife before recommending antibiotics, seeing as I've never had a symptom. I'm waiting to hear back from them now, but I don't know what to do when I do.

   I base my whole philosophy of wellness on the idea that health starts from a healthy balance of intestinal flora and good digestion. Taking antibiotics is the antithesis of this philosophy. I also know that it is crucial for me to pass on healthy gut flora to my baby during childbirth and through breastfeeding. Obviously this is excrutiating for me because I don't want to pass E coli on to my baby but I also don't want all my gut flora wiped out by antibiotics. My mom says that one small course of antibiotics won't cause any harm, but I have heard of people who it took years for their system to recover from taking antibiotics. I have also read about people who take course after course of antibiotics and still get recurrent UTI's.

    If I weren't pregnant, this would be a no-brainer for me. I really don't believe in taking anti-biotics unless the situation is life-threatening. Plus, if I hadn't been pregnant I wouldn't have even known I had a UTI. But the midwives said that a UTI could cause me to go into pre-term labor. Obviously the health of my baby comes before anything else! I asked them if anyone had ever gone into pre-term labor when they were completely asymptomatic, and she said she didn't know.

    Can anybody help me? Has anyone been in this situation before? What did you do? I am very scared of the potential impact that antibiotics could have on me and my baby, but I also don't want to harm my baby by refusing a necessary intervention. Any advice would be appreciated, as I have only heard the medical perspective on this so far.

post #2 of 25

I CAN HELP!!!!

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Great! What's your advice?

post #4 of 25

I had horrible bladder/kidney infections for years when I was younger. CRANBERRY PILLS DO NOT WORK FOR SOME PEOPLE!!! The best remedy in conjunction with lots of Vitamin C and probiotics is to get some pure 100% cranberry juice and drink as much of it as you can. It is very, very sour/bitter, but it is actually effective vs taking the cranberry pills.

 

What you need:

 

100% Organic Cranberry juice in the glass bottle (Raley's and any health food store should carry this) it is about $7-10 for a half gallon bottle, try to drink a whole bottle in 24-48 hours, you should notice a significant improvement. Do not buy a cranberry blend. If you find the cranberry too sour, cut it with water, or cut it with a small amount of other 100% fruit juice.

 

Powerful probiotics - BioKult is a great brand.

 

Vitamin C - you can't take too much and hurt the baby, you'll just get diarrhea if you take "too much". I would say 5-10,000 per day, until symptoms clear/culture comes back clear.

post #5 of 25

hm, here's what I think:

I've had loads of UTI's but none asymptomatic and none during pregnancy. the thing is there is no fooling around with that kind of stuff. if you don't treat it the infection can spread to your kidneys and become life-threatening. for you and your baby. I am all for letting nature run it's course and we hardly ever take antibiotics in my family. however, sometimes you don't really have a choice. I would have preferred to not give my almost 2yo abx, but given the fact that he caught lyme desease from a tick I gladly did so! and I would have loved to spare my 2mo baby a course of abx but given the fact that she was directly exposed to a kid with whooping cough I decided - in line with our very naturopathic MD - to do so. And I would have preferred to not take abx in my first trimester of my 2nd pegnancy, but when I had a really bad tonsillitis (my other weak point) that didn't get any better by itself, I basically had to.

 

I have repeatedly heard that UTIs can be asymptomatic in pregnancies and therefore especially dangerous. You may also be aware of the fact that your immune system is altered during pregnancy or else your body would reject the baby (which is also a reason why it is a really bad idea to vaccinate pregnant women - but that's another subject). So we are more prone to all kinds of small infections (I have had two fungi so far - yayeyesroll.gif). Even if you live a healthy life and eat well it can still hit you.

 

If it were me: I'd drink loads. loads and loads and loads, cranberry juice is supposed to work well too and special teas, but mainly just make sure you flush the bacteria out with water. If that doesn't help I'd go for the abx. And don't beat yourself up about screwing up your intestinal flora - you still have 6 months to repair the damage. It's not the end of the world and given the fact that you appear to be a very conscious person concerning your eating habits you will have little trouble in re-building a healthy flora before your baby is born.
 

post #6 of 25

Whew! I totally understand where you're coming from and your wellness philosophy. I am the same way. smile.gif That healthy gut flora is sooooo important for the baby.

 

New research is showing that antibiotics do permanent damage to the gut. Before, we thought that probiotics could reverse the damage done by antibiotics. With these new findings, there is even more reason to avoid abx at (almost) all costs!

 

Anyway, I hope that you can try the cranberry juice protocol and even more so, I hope that your next culture comes back clear. I'm not sure on this, because it's been a long time since I've dealt with bladder/kidney infections, but I do believe that your urine can have some of those "bad" cultures in it, without it actually hurting you.

 

I would definitely do some research on the connection between PTL and asymptomatic bladder infection. I will look in my midwifery textbooks and see if I can find any helpful info for you. smile.gif

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the replies and advice. I will definitely try drinking the cranberry juice, I don't really mind the flavour or the tartness. Would you recommend cranberry kombucha? I thought maybe combining the probiotic and the cranberry in that way might be helpful. My midwives called back and told me they would give me 2 weeks and then I should go and give another sample. They said that if the bacteria count was the same or higher that they would recommend antibiotics. I had seen those same things about antibiotics permanantly damaging the gut, and that's why I'm pretty desperate to knock this thing out before that's necessary.

post #8 of 25

You're welcome! winky.gif Cranberry kombucha definitely could help, but I would focus first on drinking as much of the plain cranberry juice as possible. Keep us updated!
 

post #9 of 25

Never had a UTI and no idea how to treat. But you might figure out where you are in fetal development/teeth. A dear friend took antibiotics at some critical point in development and it created soft /no enamel on the child's teeth which is a common reaction during sensitive development periods. Her dentist actually told her how it happened before she confirmed the use and time. I believe it is earlier though, then your fetal development.

post #10 of 25

Look into CranStat, it's an all natural herbal supplement for UTI's.  Ask someone before taking it during pregnancy but I have suffered from multiple UTI's in my life and this WORKS in a day or two, much better than cranberry, probiotics, etc.  UTI"s are awful, I've had them so bad I was urinating blood, they're nothing to mess around with.  Please look into CranStat if you're still suffering, look up product reviews if you need more incentive.  It really knocks them out for me.  

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice hotsauce. I did look into Cranstat, but unfortunately it's contraindicated for pregnancy.

post #12 of 25

With my first pregnancy I had a UTI the entire time.  I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks.  There was no evidence that the UTI had anything to do with it, I just mention it because it was basically an 11 week UTI.  My opinion is similar to frajapany.  Take the course of antibiotics to knock out the infection.  Load up on quality probiotics.  With my second pregnancy, I started taking a supplement called d-mannose.  It is a sugar that helps keep the bacteria from sticking to the bladder and urethra.  It seriously works.  There is a cranberry and d-mannose combination made by pure encapsulations.  It is expensive, but you don't have to take the full recommended # of capsules per day for it to work.  Take the full amount while you have acute symptoms and then take one or two per day to maintain.  I'm telling you, I have not had a single UTI since then, and I used to get one every few months.  My friend has had chronic problems with UTIs and started taking this a couple of months ago and is free of infection for the first time in years.  I don't take it everyday any longer, but if I feel the slightest twinge of a problem starting, I take a loaded dose and it knocks it out before it has a chance to take hold.  Hope you get some relief and peace of mind soon.  

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions and help. As I said before, I am not actually in any physical discomfort (totally asymptomatic) but I am in a lot of emotional turmoil trying to figure out what's best for my baby. My midwives have given me two weeks before we take another culture, so I'm going to try to treat this agressively by drinking LOTS of fluids, taking the AzoCranberry, and also drinking undiluted craberry juice for the next 24 hours. Hopefully we will come back with a negative (or smaller) culture and this worry will be gone fingersx.gif

post #14 of 25

My doc did "clean catch" urine draw straight from my bladder (catheter). That SUCKED. My results came back saying that I "had" some sort of bladder infection, although there was no specific bacteria growth. She put me on a round of nitrofurantoin macrocrystals. Hopefully this helps. I'm 18 weeks today.

post #15 of 25
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 

I love this blog, thanks for the link! I really appreciate all your support with this problem. I have been drinking the cranberry juice with mixed results, in that I do now have a slight tingle and much increased urination (might be all the extra fluids, though). I have to go give the sample soon, so I'm getting pretty nevous. None of the symptoms for any of those particular homeopathic remedies really match mine, which is frustrating. I did read though that many people take cantharis as a starting point if they can't match their symptoms to a particular remedy. So today I'm heading to the health food store and will probably pick up some d-mannose and cantharis, and possibly a probiotic. I think as long as I show improvement in my culture they will hold off on the antibiotic threat for now.

post #17 of 25
During my first pregnancy I went into preterm labour at 21 weeks. I had to stay a week in hospital because if the risk my baby could be born. They gave me drugs to help the baby's lungs develop
So it could live. I went home without going into labour. This was because I had a UTI. I also couldn't feel the UTI. I has to take antibiotics. When my baby was born she cried for 3 months until
I gave her baby probiotics and she was happy. On reflection this Taking the antibiotics gave her an lack
Of good flora but Inwould rather this than her being born at 22 weeks! This pregnancy I again found out I had a UTI at 12 weeks from my blood test; again not feeling a thing. I took antibiotics and this cleared. I am
Now 19 weeks and last week felt like I had another UTI and started having loads of BH contractions. Sure enough I have another one and am
Back on the antibiotics. The contractions have now stopped. I will now get myself tested ever month for a UTI. Antibiotics re the pits and I don't like taking them but I would rather risk lack
Of food flora so my baby isn't born preterm.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

Razzren, that's horrible. That must have been so scary having to be hospitalized like that and being so worried about your baby. I sure hope things go better for you this time. Do you think that it's possible that taking the antibiotics has put you at an increased risk of getting subsequent UTI's? I read that 30% of women who are treated with antibiotics for a UTI in pregnancy will get another UTI during that or a following pregnancy. I definitely don't think that a UTI in pregnancy should go untreated, I just wish there were more information and support out there for treatments besides antibiotics. Luckily I haven't felt anything resembling a contraction, and hopefully the culture I take next week will come back improved. Good luck with your pregnancy and a healthy baby :)

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razzren View Post

During my first pregnancy I went into preterm labour at 21 weeks. I had to stay a week in hospital because if the risk my baby could be born. They gave me drugs to help the baby's lungs develop
So it could live. I went home without going into labour. This was because I had a UTI. I also couldn't feel the UTI. I has to take antibiotics. When my baby was born she cried for 3 months until
I gave her baby probiotics and she was happy. On reflection this Taking the antibiotics gave her an lack
Of good flora but Inwould rather this than her being born at 22 weeks! This pregnancy I again found out I had a UTI at 12 weeks from my blood test; again not feeling a thing. I took antibiotics and this cleared. I am
Now 19 weeks and last week felt like I had another UTI and started having loads of BH contractions. Sure enough I have another one and am
Back on the antibiotics. The contractions have now stopped. I will now get myself tested ever month for a UTI. Antibiotics re the pits and I don't like taking them but I would rather risk lack
Of food flora so my baby isn't born preterm.

Wow, hugs.  What a scary experience and then to go through it again this time. :(  Hope you're' doing OK!!!

post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 

   I thought I would post an update since it has been a while. After posting initially I did do 2 straight courses of the pure cranberry juice with not much of an effect. I thought I was going to have to give a sample 3 weeks ago and I got really freaked out so I went to Whole Foods and got an acute (knock it out in 3 days) dose of the d-mannose. At this point I was having very mild symptoms. I think that the d-mannose did work at the time, but I did not buy any extra to continue taking it preventatively after the acute dose. Then I called my midwives back and they told me to wait to give another sample until my next appointment on July 2nd. So I think that the d-mannose did work for the UTI I had initially. I read that intercourse can cause/worsen uti's, so DH and I had been abstaining until we got a negative culture. Well, a few days before my appointment we ended up having intercourse (TMI I know) and sure enough, I started having mild symptoms again just in time for my appointment! So of course the culture came back positive. I think for me just because I am more susceptible to UTI during pregnancy I may have to abstain for a long time.

   So when the culture came back positive again (this time the highest yet) I did decline the antibiotics. I did this because I knew I would have another appointment in 2 weeks (this coming Wednesday) and there were a few more things I wanted to try before giving in. If my latest efforts aren't fruitful then I will have to take the antibiotics because I really don't want to put my baby at more risk. So after the small flare up around my appointment the symptoms died back down. A few days later we had intercourse again and the symptoms came right back. So now we are abstaining for the foreseeable future. I started taking the d-mannose again, this time with a semi-accute dosage and then a maintenance dosage. It seems like this isn't helping enough (I still have mild but persistent symptoms), so today after a lot of research I picked up some cantharis 30c. If this doesn't work in a few days then I may try nux vomica. If nothing works I will have to go with the antibiotics. At the least we will know in 10 days what worked or didn't. If something does end up working I will be sure to post about it for others in my situation. Thanks for all your support!

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