Urine Testing During Pregnancy
By Nicole Lamprinakos PA-C
You may be wondering, why is a urine sample required at every prenatal visit?
Analyzing your urine is an easy way to screen for various conditions that can be harmful to mom or baby during the pregnancy.
How do I provide a urine sample?
You will use a wipe provided to you by the nurse to clean yourself. Then, catch your urine mid-stream in a sterile urine cup. The first few drops of urine should not be included. Remember to wash your hands!
What is my OB/GYN looking for in the urine sample?
The test is used to screen for glucose, protein, ketones, white blood cells, red blood cells, nitrites, and bilirubin. The nurse will also document the appearance of the urine and if there is an unusual smell.
What can an abnormal test indicate?
- Glucose, or sugar, may indicate gestational diabetes.
- Protein, along with other symptoms like high blood pressure and headaches late in pregnancy, may indicate preeclampsia.
- Ketones may indicate that you are not eating enough calories or are dehydrated.
- White blood cells may be a sign of a bacterial infection.
- Red blood cells may be a sign of a kidney stone or bladder infection.
- Nitrites may indicate a urinary tract infection, especially if accompanied by burning during urination.
- Bilirubin may indicate liver disease.
Is this test enough to diagnose serious conditions like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes?
No, your clinician will use the results of the test only for screening. Further testing will be required for diagnosis. For example, a glucose challenge test may be done early if there is sugar in your urine on multiple visits. However a little glucose may be normal, especially after a sweet snack!
What if I am not pregnant and am asked to provide a urine sample. Is this normal?
Yes! We understand it may be messy or uncomfortable, but we consider it a vital part of your exam. By providing a urine sample we can screen for many things including infection, liver disease, kidney problems, even bladder cancer.