Escherichia coli in pregnancy

The most common urinary tract infection during pregnancy is caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Escherichia coli, or E.coli, is a bacterium that is naturally present in the intestines and also in the vagina.

It is usually harmless. The problem arises when it moves to places where it shouldn’t be, such as the stomach or kidneys.

There are different types of E.-coli bacteria, and some can be dangerous.

In some circumstances they could cause us infections which, if they occur during pregnancy, can be dangerous.

Some forms of E. coli are already present in our bodies. However, there are also external sources that can introduce this bacterium into our body:

  1. Raw fruit and vegetables, especially when not washed well.
  2. The dog contaminated, or badly cooked.
  3. Human and animal feces.
  4. Swimming pool water not treated with chlorine or infected.
  5. Contaminated and unpurified tap water, especially if it has come into contact with sewage or agricultural water.
  6. Unpasteurized milk: an infected animal can transmit this bacterium to milk as well.
  7. Unpasteurized fruit juices.
  8. Escherichia coli (E.coli) can also be transmitted to us by direct contact: if a person has this bacterium on their hands and touches us, they can transmit it to us.

If you get infected with it, you should pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by bleeding.
  • Stomach cramps and pains .
  • Nausea and vomit.
  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating.
  • Kidney infections which can then deteriorate and lead to kidney failure.
  • Weakness and dehydration.

As a result of diarrhea and vomiting, a pregnant woman will be weak and dehydrated and this can affect her baby even resulting in a premature birth.

In most cases it is difficult to know what type of infection it is because its various symptoms can be confused with something else.

This fact makes it more difficult to keep the infection under control in its initial stage. If you have symptoms of a possible E.coli infection, your doctor may want to examine a sample of your stool.

To stop the resulting diarrhea, most people in good health recover within a couple of days, without needing to take antibiotics or over-the-counter medications.

The infection has not been found to be transmitted to the fetus via the placenta, so it has no direct effect on the fetus.

However, the bacterium can be transmitted during childbirth. So if you had an E. coli infection during pregnancy, doctors will examine your baby for possible problems.

In any case, if you experience severe bleeding or cramping, call your doctor right away. This is because if these symptoms worsen, they could even cause a miscarriage.

Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat an Escherichia coli (E.coli) infection. However, some of these, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy, are not always safe for the baby. It is therefore advisable to speak to a doctor.

Consult your doctor anyway if you notice any of the symptoms described above, or if you have a fever: it is always better to get tested, and then take the right medicines at the right time.

However, one of the easiest ways to stay healthy during pregnancy is to live in clean environments, and try to eat as much home-cooked food as possible.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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