Reddish urine during pregnancy: Is it normal or an alarm?

Reddish urine or blood in urine during pregnancy can be alarming. But why does it happen? Well, usually it indicates Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs, a common phenomenon during pregnancy due to the growing pressure exerted by the fetus on the bladder and urinary tract making it easier for the bacteria to cause an infection. During pregnancy, urine is comparatively less acidic in nature due to higher quantities of proteins, sugars and hormones, which may contribute to UTIs.

Common symptoms of UTI may include

* Painful urination
* Frequent urination
* Burning sensation while urinating
* Urine with an unusual odour
* Experiencing discomfort in the pelvic region
* Fever and backache
* Symptoms of hematuria or blood in the urine

Causes of Urinary Tract Infection or UTI

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy can be common. Listed below are the three different types of UTIs with distinct characteristics during pregnancy.

1. Asymptomatic bacteriuria

This UTI tends to occur due to the bacteria present in a woman’s body before she gets pregnant. The name itself denotes how this type of UTI does not have any noticeable symptoms however left untreated, this asymptomatic bacteriuria may result in kidney infection or an acute bladder infection if left untreated.

2. Acute urethritis or cystitis

Acute urethritis refers to inflammation of the urethra while cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder. These infections are caused by a type of bacteria named Escherichia coli.

3. Pyelonephritis

This condition occurs when bacteria enter the kidneys from the bloodstream or urinary tract resulting in kidney infection. Pyelonephritis is extremely severe and symptoms may include blood or pus in the urine accompanied by fever, pain when urinating, backache and pain in the groin, or abdomen.

Other causes may also include urinary tract stones. Blood in the urine during pregnancy may also occur due to urinary tract stones, bladder stones, ureteral stones, and kidney stones. Pregnant women experiencing urinary tract stones exhibit symptoms of constant pain in the abdomen, backache, and pain while urinating accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Another condition called Glomerulonephritis can cause damage to the glomeruli or tiny filters inside the kidneys. Glomerulonephritis is caused due to infections in the immune system which deteriorates the ability of the kidney in removing waste and fluid from your body.

Is it dangerous to have blood in urine during pregnancy?

Urinating blood during pregnancy is a common phenomenon and may be benign in nature. However, seeking professional advice is important to get accurate information. If the urinary tract infection is severe, it may result in complications such as:

* Preterm labour
* Severe infection
* Adult respiratory distress syndrome, a condition that occurs when fluids build up in the tiny, elastic air sacs or alveoli in your lungs which results in less oxygen reaching the bloodstream.
* Anemia, a condition where there are insufficient healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues
* Long-term infection

Also read: UTI: Here’s a pro tip to keep urinary tract infection at bay

How to treat UTI during pregnancy

It is advised to consult a doctor and get medical help if you are experiencing symptoms of UTI. Along with the medical treatment suggested by the doctor, pregnant women experiencing UTI may also try these measures to speed up the recovery process-

* Drinking plenty of water is extremely essential because water dilutes the urine and helps flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract.
Cranberries for UTI treatment have been widely talked about. These are helpful as they contain certain compounds which play a crucial role in assuring that the bacteria do not attach themselves to the lining of the urinary tract. It is advised to drink cranberry juice to prevent further infection.
* Urinating when the urge arises is important because it helps the bacteria pass out of the urinary tract easily and at a quicker pace
* One should strictly avoid alcohol and caffeine as they may irritate the bladder.
* Maintaining hygiene by washing the genital area thoroughly may also help avoid contracting bacteria that may potentially harm the lower urinary tract and the reproductive system.

During pregnancy, it is necessary for every expectant mother to monitor changes in her urine and report them to the doctor to keep both the mother and the baby health during pregnancy.