Common health problems 231
Women who use a “fixed” catheter may find that the urine stops coming out.
This can happen if the expanding womb presses on the catheter and stops the urine
flow. See a health worker.
If you can take care of a bladder infection right away, you may be able to prevent
more serious problems, such as kidney infection and early labor. Watch carefully for
signs of infection, and see a health worker if necessary.
To prevent urine infections while you are pregnant:
• drink plenty of water or fruit juices—at least
8 glasses a day.
• keep your genitals clean.
• pass urine after having sex.
• always wash your hands before using a catheter.
• clean your catheter more often (see pages 102 to 104).
One way to know if you are drinking enough liquid is to try to notice the color of
your urine. If it is a dark yellow, you are probably not drinking enough. The urine
should be light yellow, almost like water. Drinking lots of tea or coffee will not help
because the caffeine in them will make you lose more fluid than you drink.
For more information on bladder and kidney infections, see pages 105 to 106.
Seizures (convulsions, “fits,” epilepsy)
It is hard to say whether a woman who has epilepsy will have more or fewer
seizures while she is pregnant. If you are someone who gets seizures, you will know
best how often you get them and how severe they are. Some antiseizure medicines,
especially phenytoin (diphenylhydantoin, Dilantin), may increase the risk of birth
defects when taken by a pregnant woman. But do not stop taking anti-seizure
medicines while you are pregnant. This
can make seizures worse and may even
kill you. Talk with an experienced health
worker or doctor who understands
epilepsy and can help you decide about
the best medicine to take. Phenobarbital
(phenobarbitone, Luminal) is probably
the safest anti-seizure medicine to take
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007