They detect UTIs and check for Diabetes. Never miss your Urine Tests during Pregnancy

urine test

Will your doctor ask for a urine sample at each prenatal visit?

Your doctor is likely to ask you for a urine sample at your first prenatal visit and send it to a laboratory for a complete urinalysis. Some doctors will continue to ask for a urine sample at each visit (or once a trimester). They will usually test it by dipstick. Others will not ask for a sample again unless you are having symptoms that would require a urine test. Some doctors will give you specific guidelines for how to produce a “clean-catch midstream specimen,” while others will just ask you to collect your urine in a cup.

How to get a “clean-catch midstream specimen”?

Wash your hands using antiseptic wipe given to you. Then, with clean fingers, separate your labia and clean your vulva from front to back with the wipe.

In the wash room, urinate in a specimen cup for a few seconds and then place the cup under the stream until you collect enough for the sample. (Avoid touching the inside of the cup with your fingers.) Once you finish urinating, put the cap on the cup and deliver it to the medical assistant.

How is the dipstick testing done?

A medical assistant will check your urine by dipping a coloured test stick in it and comparing the results to a chart. Your doctor will check your results from your reports and make the diagnosis.

What is Urine tested for?

Sugar

It is normal to have a small amount of sugar in your urine sometimes during pregnancy, but if you have higher levels at a couple of prenatal visits in a row or a very high level at one visit, it could mean you have gestational diabetes. Your doctor may ask you to take a glucose challenge test to find out whether that is the case.

Even if your urine test results are normal, you will have to get a glucose challenge test between 24 and 28 weeks to check for gestational diabetes.

Protein

Excess protein in your urine can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney damage, or certain other disorders. In the later stage of your pregnancy, it can also be a sign of preeclampsia if it’s accompanied by high blood pressure. If you have protein in your urine but your blood pressure is normal, your doctor may send a clean-catch midstream sample to the laboratory to test for a UTI.

Ketones

Ketones are formed when the body starts breaking down stored or ingested fat for energy. This can happen when you are not getting enough carbohydrates- your body’s usual source of energy.

When you are suffering from severe nausea and vomiting or if you have lost weight during pregnancy, your doctor may check your urine for ketones. If your ketone levels are high and you cannot keep any food or liquid down, you may require intravenous fluids and medication. Finding sugar and ketones together in the sample could be a sign of diabetes.

Blood cells or bacteria

On your first prenatal visit, your urine sample will mostly be checked for bacteria that indicate a UTI. This will be done through a laboratory urinalysis and a culture and sensitivity test. The culture test shows whether you have a UTI, and the sensitivity test shows which antibiotics can effectively treat the infection.

If this initial test is negative, your risk of developing a UTI later in pregnancy is less, unless you have a history of chronic or repeated UTIs.

You might have to take dipstick tests continuously during your pregnancy or you may only have one if you show symptoms. The dipstick test checks for a certain enzyme produced by white blood cells and nitrites produced by certain bacteria. Both of which indicate a UTI. If either of these shows up on a dipstick test, a sterile urine sample will be sent to the laboratory for a culture and sensitivity test.

The test usually takes 48 hours for the results of a urine culture and sensitivity test. However, your doctor may start you on some kind of antibiotics before the testing is complete, particularly if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

While UTIs usually cause painful symptoms when you are not pregnant, it is possible to have a UTI with no symptoms during pregnancy. If left untreated, even a painless and symptomless UTI can progress to a full-blown kidney infection, which almost always requires hospitalization.