Should asymptomatic bacteriuria be screened in pregnancy?

Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2002;29(4):281-5.


The incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria is reported as 2-14% during pregnancy. Fetal and maternal complications like acute pyelonephritis, hypertension, anemia, preterm labor, low-birth-weight infants and intrauterine growth retardation can be expected. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria during pregnancy and its relation to pregnancy complications. The study involved 270 pregnant women up to 32 gestational weeks during a 9-month period. At the initial visit, they were screened with urine culture in order to detect asymptomatic bacteriuria. A control group was formed in a retrospective manner from the first day of the study with 186 pregnant women who delivered in our clinic and who were not screened for asymptomatic bacteriuria. The incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria was 9.31%. Escherichia coli accounted for 79%, which was the most frequent of the isolates. We observed recurrence and had to apply treatment again to 21.7% of the women. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values of leucocyturia as a screening test for asymptomatic bacteriuria were 91.3%, 83.6%, 45.6% and 98.5%, respectively. We diagnosed preterm labor in six of 23 (26%) with asymptomatic bacteriuria and 16 in 163 (9.3%) women in the urine culture negative group. The ratio acute pyelonephritis in the group which was routinely screened and treated for asymtomatic bacteriuria was 0.5% while the prevalence was 2.1% in the nonscreened group. Considering the relatively high incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria during pregnancy and the relevant complications, we propose to screen and treat asymptomatic bacteriuria routinely in all pregnant women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteriuria / epidemiology*
  • Bacteriuria / etiology
  • Bacteriuria / pathology
  • Bacteriuria / prevention & control*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / etiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / pathology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / pathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology