Expecting pregnancy is a time filled with excitement and anxiety in all women. Especially if it is the first time. The tension and fear before seeing the pregnancy result are thrilling. But, the extra stress of having the test affected by a UTI can be unsettling.
So, you must be wondering can a UTI affect a pregnancy test?
Well, good news ladies, the answer is no, but only in most cases. In some situations, a UTI may cause a pregnancy test to turn out false negative. This is mostly when the UTI affects the urine’s concentration and production. But, not to worry as with proper treatment and home remedies, UTI can be cured.
Thus, without further ado, let’s walk you through the complete guide into pregnancy with UTI.
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How does a Pregnancy Test Work?
In order to understand the relation between UTI and pregnancy tests, firstly you must know how a pregnancy test works.
Like all other significant things in a woman’s body, pregnancy is also controlled by hormones. This is where all nausea and mood swings come from!
The particular hormone in play here is Human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG in short.
All women have the hormone HCG present in their bodies. But during pregnancy, the production of this hormone increases rapidly. Thus all pregnancy tests are based on the levels of HCG in the body. If it is more than normal, that’s a positive result.
HCG levels increase with time, so the best time to take a pregnancy test is usually one week (7-8 days) after the missed period. Interestingly HCG levels increase so rapidly that they can double within 2 days!
There are 2 main ways of testing pregnancy: Urine Test & Blood Test
Since the hormone HCG is present in excessive amounts in the blood, a lot of it is also excreted through urine. Thus, the increased levels of HCG in urine can be detected to test for pregnancy.
This can be carried out at home using a home pregnancy test kit, or can be done by taking a urine test in the hospital:
Both these tests detect whether the levels of HCG are above normal or not. They only provide a positive or negative result, but no extra information about the amounts of HCG. These tests are very accurate, most of the time.
In-home Pregnancy Test Kits
These kits contain a stick. Urine needs to be put in one end of this stick.
Then within a minute or two results appear as ‘+’ or ‘-’ sign, 1 or 2 lines, or, in the case of digital machines, showing the words ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant. Instructions on how to read the result are given in the packaging.
Sometimes, even with the instructions present, it can be confusing to read the results, especially if they are shown using lines. For example, evaporation lines may form that can be confused with a positive result.
Other than this, the kit is very efficient, giving quick and accurate results. Yet, accuracy can be improved if a more sensitive kit is used.
In the Hospital
Urine tests take about 2 or 3 days. It follows the same principle of measuring HCG levels.
However, these tests are usually more accurate.
But if you don’t wish to wait that long, going for the home kits at first, maybe the best idea.
These tests require collecting blood from the body and take about 2,3 days to provide the results.
They provide the most accurate results. Even the lowest levels of HCG rise can be detected.
There are mainly 2 types of blood tests.
A qualitative one can only detect the rise of HCG, while a quantitative one can detect the exact amount of HCG. The latter can be used to detect complications or problems with pregnancy.
So, now you know exactly how and why the pregnancy tests are done.
A slight rise in the level of HCG in urine would give a positive result.
It is unlikely for this result to come false positive due to UTI. But, although unlikely, it is possible for UTI to induce a false negative result. Let’s look at that in more detail.
Why Would UTI Give a False Negative Result?
UTI rarely affects the levels of HCG in blood or urine. But, it might affect it indirectly in several ways:
Uncontrollable Urine Flow
Due to cases of severe UTI, urine flow can be hard to control for some women.
While using in-home pregnancy test kits, can lead to excessive urine at the tip of the stick, hampering the results. Without proper urine collection, the results can end up being negative.
An easy solution to this is to collect urine in a container, then dip the stick in it for some time. This will give an accurate result.
If a woman is under heavy antibiotic doses due to UTI, the antibiotics may render the composition of urine. This changed composition can cause the result to show negative no matter what. Although there is no practical evidence of this, it is a possibility.
Lots of Water Intake
In order to reduce a UTI or its symptoms, women may drink a lot of water. Huge water consumption can dilute the urine. Diluted urine can’t provide accurate results and will end up giving a negative result.
Now, your confusion on can a UTI affect a pregnancy test should be solved. In a nutshell, it can be said that directly UTI can’t affect pregnancy tests but indirectly yes it can.
Thus, since UTI mostly affects urine tests, it’s best to carry out a blood test if you anticipate pregnancy.
There can be many other reasons for a negative pregnancy test even after a missed period that you might consider looking into.
Now, if your result was actually false negative due to UTI, congratulations first of all! Secondly, you might worry if the UTI is going to affect the unborn baby, so let’s get that answered.
Is UTI Going to Affect the Unborn Baby?
In most cases, UTI poses no threat to a growing baby. But, if the infection spreads and makes its way to the kidneys, it can affect both the baby and yourself severely.
Symptoms of a kidney infection :
- Upper back pain, usually on one side
These symptoms, along with the basic UTI symptoms (Burning while urinating, Urinating very frequently, etc.) will be there. Many women face UTI symptoms during pregnancy, so never consider yourself alone.
If unfortunately, your harmless UTI turns into a kidney infection, you should contact a doctor immediately. Look out for the symptoms mentioned above and work accordingly.
Kidney infections can cause severe harm to your body as well as the baby’s, like causing preterm labor (which is giving birth before date), or low birth weight. It can also induce anemia, pneumonia and affect other organs of your body.
All these negative points must get you wondering if there’s even a way out of this mess. Lucky for you, I have the perfect solutions lined up for you!
Treatments for UTI
Surely, UTi during pregnancy can’t be treated the same way as without pregnancy, since now you’re carrying the responsibility of a baby. Therefore, let’s look at the ways to treat UTI during pregnancy both with medications and home treatments.
Severe UTIs usually require antibiotics. Based on your conditions your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics for 3-7 days. These are antibiotics that are safe for the baby, for example, penicillin, amoxicillin, erythromycin, etc.
Many times, taking these antibiotics for a few days will reduce the symptoms, but here’s the deal: Don’t stop them until you finish the course.
This is very important. If you leave the course uncompleted, the infection can return, and this time become more severe!
Many self-treatments exist both to treat the UTI and to prevent it from occurring or recurring. They include :
Drinking Plenty of Water
This is the first and most important thing to keep in mind. Water can solve all your issues.
Drinking lots of water will keep urine diluted and will flush the urinary tract of any unwanted bacteria every time you urinate. It will also reduce the burning sensation while urinating.
Urinating When Needed
Many people hold their urine for a long time before releasing it. This habit is very harmful and can be the sole reason for urine infection. Holding urine in the bladder for a long time promotes bacterial growth in the urinary tract. Thus, remember to urinate as soon as the need arises.
Probiotics are used to refer to good bacteria. These are bacteria that help the body in various ways, like improving gut health, preventing infections in the urinary tract etc.
Regular consumption of probiotics helps the body in numerous ways. It is good for all types of people: healthy, young, old, pregnant or any at all.
Probiotics are found in large quantities in yogurt and sauerkraut. It can also be found as tablets of probiotic supplements.
So the bottom line is, try to keep a habit of consuming probiotics every day to keep your body healthy at all times.
Well then, these are a few things you can do to prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Can UTI give a false positive pregnancy test?
Answer: In cases of severe UTI, especially one that causes an increase in RBC, WBC and nitrite can sometimes cause a false positive test result. This is an unlikely scenario but the confusion can be solved by carrying out a blood test and consulting a doctor.
Can a yeast infection give a false negative pregnancy test?
Answer: No, like a urinary tract infection, yeast infections can’t directly hamper a pregnancy test. Yeast infections are very common during pregnancy too.
Which is the best time to do an in-home pregnancy test?
Answer: Morning urine is best to test for pregnancy. Also while collecting urine, best to do it from midstream.
Well then, now you must know the answer to can a UTI affect a pregnancy test or not.
It may indirectly cause a false negative result, but you have missed periods and other pregnancy symptoms, surely see a doctor to confirm.
Other than this, UTIs can be easily cured with antibiotics and some healthy habits.
Thus, nothing to be worried about at all. I hope the article has helped! Thank you for reading and happy pregnancy!