Urinalysis - Testing The Urine During Pregnancy

Prenatal Testing

Obie Editorial Team

One of the tests done routinely at each prenatal visit is the urine test or urinalysis which checks mostly for sugar, protein, blood, and leukocytes. The very first thing you think about when you hear the words "urine test" in pregnancy is a pregnancy test, to check for the presence of hCG the pregnancy hormone in the urine.

But once your pregnancy has been diagnosed, the words "urine test" take on a whole different meaning.

During each prenatal visit, you are usually asked to urinate and collect a small sample of clean, midstream urine in a sterile plastic cup and the urine is then checked for the presence of certain indicators for different problems.

Chemically prepared testing strips are dipped into your sample of urine to screen for certain indicators. More in-depth analysis may be done by having your urine sample assessed by a laboratory.

This urine test or urinalysis test checks for high levels of sugars, proteins, ketones, white blood cells, and bacteria for:

  • bladder or kidney infections
  • diabetes
  • dehydration 
  • preeclampsia

Higher levels of protein may suggest a possible urinary tract infection or kidney disease. Preeclampsia may be a concern if higher levels of protein are found later in pregnancy, combined with high blood pressure. Protein found in your urine indicates a problem in kidney function such as an infection. If protein is found in your urine late in pregnancy this may be a sign of preeclampsia.

High levels of sugar in your urine do not necessarily mean you are diabetic. During pregnancy, it is normal for your kidneys to leak some sugar from your bloodstream into your urine, especially after you have consumed something sweet.

Ketones occur when your body is breaking down fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. High levels of ketones indicate that you are not getting enough to eat or if you are dehydrated.

Bacteria and leucocytes (white blood cells) in your urine may be a sign of a urinary tract infection. Your doctor may send off an additional sample of clean urine to do a urine culture and check to see which if any bacteria are present.