What Does Protein in Urine During Pregnancy Indicate?

If you are pregnant or have been, you are probably familiar with the process of collecting a urine sample at prenatal visits. By the time you reach your third trimester, you’ve pretty much learned the process and probably don’t think much of it, but there’s a good reason for collecting this sample regularly (even if it’s unpleasant)—to try proteinuria or protein in the urine.

What Causes Protein in the Urine in Pregnancy?

A simple urine test can clue doctors into all sorts of different things that may be going on inside your body during pregnancy. When it comes to protein, in particular, high levels can indicate things like urinary tract infections (UTI), preeclampsia, and kidney problems, according to Christine Greves, MD, an OB-GYN at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. In addition, the high level of sugar protein can be a warning sign of gestational diabetes.

Depending on your situation, to find out if your urine contains high levels of protein, your doctor’s office will send your sample to a lab for a complete analysis. This test will measure sugar, protein, ketone, and bacteria levels. In some cases, the staff at your doctor’s office will also perform “quick dipstick test” before sending your sample to the lab. In this test, they dip a test strip into the sample and wait to see what color the strip turns. Within minutes, the color of the strip will indicate if the protein levels in the sample are relevant.

Symptoms Of Protein In The Urine During Pregnancy

Without testing, how do you know if you have high protein levels in your urine during pregnancy? During the early stage proteinuria, you may not experience symptoms. In fact, your urine test may be the first sign that something is wrong.

However, this is not always a symptomless event. In some cases, Dr. Greves, “Symptoms can range between high blood pressure, swelling in the hands and face, sudden weight gain, headache, changes in vision, nausea and vomiting, and urinating more often. ” You may also notice fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle aches.

The cause of high levels of protein in the urine can present a variety of symptoms. For example, protein levels increase when there is a urinary tract infection (UTI); you can experience the often need to urinate and possibly a burning sensation when you go. Conversely, higher levels of protein in the urine can cause significant swelling in the hands and face– common signs of preeclampsia.

It is also important to note that many of these symptoms are common symptoms of pregnancy in general. It is very likely that you will experience some of these symptoms throughout your pregnancy without having protein in your urine.

What happens next?

In most cases, having high levels of protein in the urine alone is not enough to diagnose a condition. Doctors will also consider symptoms (if you’re experiencing any), and they may order additional tests to help narrow down a possible cause of proteinuria.

“Trends are very important in medicine,” explained Dr. Greves. “If we notice [protein] in your urine during pregnancy, we also check your blood pressure and assess your risks for other things.” Because these trends are so clear, Dr. Greves emphasizes the importance of monitoring your regular prenatal checkups so your provider has your history and data to reference.

Once your doctor determines what’s causing the protein in your urine, they can assess the proper treatment.

Learning about abnormal test results during pregnancy can be very scary, but it’s important to stay calm and take things one step at a time with your healthcare provider. The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to keep on top of your prenatal appointments, pay attention to any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing, and follow your doctor’s advice for a healthy pregnancy. .

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button