High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

6 min read

Written by Ajanta Biswas

Ajanta Biswas

High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy

A rise in protein in urine during pregnancy is a normal thing. As we intake more protein and our blood volume increases during pregnancy it is obvious that more protein will mistakenly skip from the “working under pressure” bladder in the filtration process. But it is when its levels in urine surge more than 300 mg/day then we call it high protein in urine during pregnancy.

A lot of factors can trigger more loss of protein through urine during pregnancy. This condition, also known as proteinuria, if continued, can lead to serious damage to both your organs as well as your developing baby. Thus you need to know the symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatments, and preventive measures against proteinuria to keep your pregnancy trouble-free. Here is all you need to know about high protein in urine during pregnancy.

In This Article

What Are The Causes Of High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy?

There can be multiple causes behind the high protein count in your urine during pregnancy. Pregnancy itself is one of the prominent causes of proteinuria. Here are some of the vital causes of high protein in urine during pregnancy;

1. Pregnancy

During pregnancy the protein levels in your urine naturally doubles. It can move from its normal range i.e. 150 mg to up to 300 mg in a 24-hour collection as a report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests.

This is because in pregnancy your blood volume increases and as a result, the protein excretion rate also increases. Also, the decreased concentration of urea and serum creatinine makes the presence of protein more prominent in your urine test.

2. UTI

If you catch a urinary tract infection during pregnancy then it can increase your transient urine protein levels known as transient proteinuria.

3. Preeclampsia

An article published in ahajournals shows that late pregnancy (after 20 weeks) proteinuria is directly linked with preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure-related disorder that causes serious harm to both the mother and the fetus. Growth restriction of the fetus, organ damage, placental abruption, premature birth, birth defects, etc. have a direct connection with preeclampsia. High protein in the urine can suggest preeclampsia in later pregnancy.

4. HELLP Syndrome

In the case of HELLP syndrome, you can see a rise in the protein levels in urine too. It is a rare but severe form of preeclampsia that develops around 37 weeks of pregnancy but symptoms occur within 48 hours of delivery as research published in Europe PMC suggests. The syndrome causes hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count as its name suggests.

5. Kidney Disease

The presence of already existing chronic kidney disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and hypertension also causes proteinuria in the first trimester of pregnancy.

5. Dehydration and Excessive Physical Exhaustion

This can also lead to a temporary rise in protein in your urine.

Symptoms Of High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy

Swelling in legs during pregnancy

Initially, you may not notice any symptoms of proteinuria. but with successive days without any treatment symptoms may occur including;

  • Foamy or bubbly urine
  • Swelling in legs, hands, and face
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Visual impairment including blurry vision, light sensitivity, and headache
  • Nausea

If you have any of these symptoms along with high blood pressure then do not waste time. Do the necessary check-ups and treatment to avoid any mishaps.

Risk Factors For High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy

Few risk factors can increase the chances of getting high protein in urine during pregnancy. The risk factors of proteinuria as pointed out in a report by Frontiers are;

  • Previous pregnancy with preeclampsia
  • Family history of kidney problems
  • Pre-existing hypertension or chronic hypertension
  • Pre-existing diabetes
  • Obesity or a BMI of more than 30
  • Very early (before 20 years)or very late (after 35 years) pregnancy
  • Multiple babies like twins or triplets

If you have any of these risk factors then do check the protein levels in your urine.

Treatment Options For High Protein During Pregnancy

Dietary Modification for Pregnant Women

The treatment method for proteinuria will depend upon its levels, underlying causes, and complexities. Generally, the step-by-step treatment options for high protein in urine during pregnancy are;

1. Moderate Experience and Dietary Modification 

In early pregnancy proteinuria, and limiting salt and protein intake in daily diet will help you cure proteinuria, a report from ahajournals suggests. You can try pregnancy-friendly yoga and exercise to reduce the levels of protein in your urine.

2. Hydration and Resting

Taking sufficient water and resting regularly will help you to reduce protein levels in your urine.

3. Medications 

In case of hypertension during pregnancy or preeclampsia, you will have to take medicines. Medicine will keep your blood pressure in control to avoid complications in your pregnancy.

4. Hospitalization

In case of severe preeclampsia and other pregnancy problems related to high protein in the urine, one may even have to go to the hospital. There with constant monitoring and early care, you can deliver your baby with minimum risks.

Tips to Prevent High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy?

What Are The Causes Of High Protein In Urine During Pregnancy?

Proteinuria during pregnancy is quite unpreventable as many factors are directly or indirectly involved in causing it. But with regular lifestyle moderation and monitoring, you can avoid the risk of them creating a massive blunder. Here are some tips to prevent high protein in urine during pregnancy;

  • According to the report of NCBI, a woman requires around 46 g/day of protein in her first trimester. And in the second and third trimester, it is raised to 71 g/day. Do not exceed more than these limits.
  • Minimize the intake of salt and artificial sugar to lower the chances of high BP and blood sugar.
  • Avoid excessive weight gain even during pregnancy
  • Do mild exercise and meditation to keep your body and mind tension-free
  • Drink sufficient water
  • Maintain reproductive hygiene to avoid UTIs
  • Frequently check blood sugar and blood pressure levels after 20 weeks of pregnancy

When Should You Consult A Doctor?

When Should You Consult A Doctor?

You need to consult a doctor if you have symptoms like;

  • Sudden increase in protein levels in urine
  • Prevalent and long-lasting high protein in urine
  • High diabetes and BP count during pregnancy
  • Urinary infection
  • Family history of preeclampsia
  • Pre-existing damage in the kidney

Checking protein levels in urine is a part of prenatal tests. You need to do this test at least twice during your pregnancy. Once in the first trimester and once after you cross 20 weeks. Talk to the doctor and take the necessary steps if the report shows something unusual.

Pregnancy is a turbulent time for your body and mind. If anything goes without sync it will be bound to trouble you. So keep your body fit and healthy. Take less stress, salt, and sugar. Have protein only that much your body requires. By doing this you can control protein levels in your urine and the additional serious problems that it can cause, i.e. preeclampsia.


1. Will Drinking Water Reduce Protein In Urine?

Yes, drinking plenty of water will dilute the urine and lessen the concentration of protein in it. It is useful when you see a mild surge in the protein levels in your urine. However, in case of persistent proteinuria, you must seek medical attention.

2. What Foods To Avoid If Protein Is High?

You need to restrict protein-rich food like red meat, salt water fish, poultry, and processed food. You may even have to avoid them completely if your proteinuria results in preeclampsia.

3. Does Stress Cause Protein In Urine?

Stress itself is not directly connected with protein in urine. But it can surely disrupt your bodily functions to create a favorable condition for proteinuria and preeclampsia.

Ajanta Biswas,MA (English)

Studying English literature has been highly instrumental in creating a love for English and World Literature for this writer. Ajanta has been writing for more than two years. She specializes in creating short and crisp blogs that can create awareness among women about healthy pregnancy and among parents about better parenting.Read more.

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