UTI Pregnancy Treatment: Antibiotics & Signs of Improvement

Updated in February 2024

UTI treatment during pregnancy generally involves the use of antibiotics for 5 to 7 days. The OB may prescribe antibiotics such as cephalexin or ampicillin once the urine is confirmed to contain bacteria. 

It is important for UTIs to be treated during pregnancy, even if it does not cause any symptoms. UTIs that are left untreated, can lead to kidney problems, premature birth or miscarriage. Learn more about the most common UTI symptoms and complete our online symptom checker if you suspect you may have one.

In addition to antibiotics, there are home remedies that pregnant women can use for a quicker UTI recovery, such as cranberry juice and increasing water intake.

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Antibiotic treatment

Treatment with antibiotics for UTIs during pregnancy are prescribed to eliminate bacteria from the urinary tract, relieve symptoms and prevent complications for mother and baby, like pyelonephritis (a kidney infection), intrauterine growth restriction, premature birth or low birth weight.

The main antibiotics that may your OB may prescribe for a UTI during pregnancy include:

  • Ampicillin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Amoxicillin + clavulanate
  • Cephalexin
  • Cefuroxime
  • Nitrofurantoin

Antibiotics should only be used during pregnancy as prescribed by a doctor, as not all antibiotics can be used. Some may be harmful to the baby and should not be prescribed at this time.

Treatment should last for as long as prescribed by the OB, and generally varies from 5 to 7 days. It is important not to stop using the antibiotic, even if symptoms improve quickly, to avoid bacterial resistance.

In cases where a urinary infection affects the kidneys and leads to pyelonephritis, treatment involves hospitalization and IV antibiotics, such as ceftriaxone, for example.

Home remedies

To complement the treatment prescribed by your doctor, you can also drink cranberry juice as it has antiseptic and astringent properties that can help to treat and prevent urinary tract infections during pregnancy.

Any herbal teas or herbal remedies for UTIs should be discussed with your OB before taking, as some medicinal plants can be harmful to take during pregnancy.

Other considerations

When treating a UTI during pregnancy, it is also important to take precautions like:

  • Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water, coconut water, natural juices or teas per day. 
  • Wash your hands before and after using the bathroom.
  • Urinate after having sex.
  • Clean the genital area from front to back.
  • Avoid vaginal douches, deodorants or genital perfumes.
  • Avoid soaps that are not suitable for the intimate area.

These precautions help to reduce the duration of urinary infections and prevent the appearance of new urinary infections.

Signs of improvement

UTI treatment during pregnancy is noted to be effective and the infection is improving if you notice a decrease in pain or burning during urination, as well as a reduced urgency to urinate.

Signs of worsening

Signs of worsening may be noted if the UTI is left untreated, and may present as increased pain and burning during urination, as well as increased frequency and urgency in urinating. Cloudy urine and the appearance of blood in the urine may also be visible.

If these signs appear, you should see your OB for assessment or reassessment to prevent complications.