Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
Check for signs of bladder or kidney infection
The kidneys, kidney tubes, bladder, and urethra
(the opening where urine comes out of the
body) are all connected and work together to
get rid of body wastes. First the kidneys clean
the blood and turn waste into urine. Then the
urine goes down the kidney tubes to the
bladder. The urine stays in the bladder until
When harmful germs get into the urethra, it
can become infected. That infection can easily
spread to the bladder or kidneys.
Healthy signs No pain, itching, or burning when urinating.
Wa r nin g s ig n s
• constant feeling of needing to urinate,
even after having just urinated
• pain or burning while or just after urinating
• pain in the lower belly, behind the front of the pelvis
• protein in the urine
• any signs of bladder infection
• cloudy or bloody urine
• pain in the lower back, sometimes on the sides
• feeling very sick or weak
Pain along the sides of
the back may be normal,
or — especially if only on
one side — it may be a
sign of kidney infection.
Sometimes a woman has a bladder infection but she has no signs.
(Back pain along the spine is common in pregnancy. It can be helped with
massage, exercise, or hot compresses.)
A woman is more likely to get infections of the urethra, bladder, or kidneys
during pregnancy than at other times. Bladder and kidney infections can be
dangerous for the mother and can also cause her to start labor too early if they
are not treated right away.
Note: Itching or burning while urinating can be a sign of infection of
the vagina or a sexually transmitted infection. See Chapter 18 to learn
more about treating these infections.
A Book for Midwives (2010)