Pregnancy is a magical time that brings a new life into this world. As a saying goes “To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman and undoubtedly inhabited.” To ensure that the woman is at the best of health, we must take various precautions, one of which is urinary hygiene. Continue reading to know all about Urine tests and Urine culture during pregnancy.
What Is A Urine Test?
It is a routine test done by your doctor as part of your prenatal care
What Is The Need For Urine Tests During Pregnancy?
- These tests necessarily provide your doctor the important information about diseases or conditions that could potentially affect you or your growing baby
- Initially every woman undergoes a human chorionic gonodotropin (hCG) urine test, which is a pregnancy test to detect if the pregnancy hormone hCG is present in her urine about ten days after her missed period. These tests are often referred to as home pregnancy tests
How Is A Urine Test Done During Pregnancy?
A sample of clear midstream urine is placed in a plastic container which is sterile. Test strips containing a chemical are dipped into a sample of urine to screen for certain diseases. A sterile container is used to prevent samples from being contaminated with bacteria or other secretions that may invalidate the results.
If your doctor suspects some kind of infection, he will ask for more detailed analysis by sending the urine sample to the laboratory.
When Is A Urine Test Performed?
During the first prenatal visit, the doctor will perform a urine test and then periodiclally in the future prenatal visits. In some doctor offices, a urine test is a part of each pre natal visit.
What Can Urine Test Results Reveal?
- When a woman is pregnant, there is negligible or no sugar present in the urine. But when the levels of blood sugar in the body are very high, surplus sugar can leak in the urine. This is called gestational diabetes. This commonly occurs during the 20th week of pregnancy
- When pregnancy hormones obstruct the ability of the body to use insulin which is a chemical that converts blood sugar into energy, it leads to gestational diabetes
- It can also occur if there is a family history of diabetes
- Protein in the urine indicates a urinary infection or an infection in the kidney. When such a situation occurs at the later stage of pregnancy say after 20 weeks of gestation, it can lead to high blood pressure and can be an early sign of preeclampsia. If left untreating, this can bring about complications for both the mother and the baby
- On the other hand, if the pregnant woman is haing normal readings of blood pressure but still the levels of protein are high, then the doctors can order for urine culture to know which bacteria is causing an infection. This will help them to start the right mode of treatment
- If bacteria is present in the Urine, then it indicates urinary tract infection. 8% of pregnant woman suffer from urinary tract infection
- If this condition is not treated at the right time it can lead to kidney damage and can lead to delivering a low birth weight baby or a premature baby
- This can be treated with antibiotics. There are antibiotics which are safe but it is better to consult a doctor before using them
- Instead of carbohydrates, when fats are broken down it results in acidic byproducts which are known as Ketones
- If the levels of ketones in the urine are high, the doctor will try to evaluate the food habits of the pregnant woman. If the mother ot be is not getting enough to eat or drink, then it can result in high levels of Ketones. Once the food and drinking habits are corrected, the ketone levels will automatically come down
- However, if the pregnant woman has severe nausea and vomiting along with high levels of ketones, she will need to be hospitalized in order to get the required nutrients intravenously
- When the pregnant woman is diabetic and there is a large quantity of ketones in the urine, leading to a harmful condition called ketoacidosis which can cause a serious condition called diabetic coma
What Is Urine Culture?
Urine culture is a test to find the type of bacteria in urine and provide the right type of antibiotic to treat the infection.
When Is A Urine Culture Required?
Doctor will ask a pregnant woman to take a Urine Culture in order to find out:
- The bacteria that is causing urinary tract infection
- To decide the correct antibiotic for treating the infection during pregnancy
- In order to find out if the treatment has helped to completely clear up UTI
Usually a pregnant woman will be required to give her urine sample twice for urine culture. During the first time, urine culture will be done to know the bacteria that is causing an infection and the second time it is done to make sure the infection has cleared up completely so that there is no risk to both the mother and the baby.
How Is A Urine Culture Performed?
- A sample of urine is collected and added to a substance that promotes the growth of bacteria. If there is no bacterial growth, then culture is said to be negative. If there is a growth of any organism, then the culture is positive. It can further reveal the exact bacteria that is growing and causing an infection
- Results can be obtained in 2 or 3 days
- An obstetrician may ask a pregnant woman to do a urine culture at several phases during her pregnancy as a precautionary measure
- The presence of bacteria which leads to urinary tract infections can lead to premature labor
Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy
- Pain and discomfort usually in the lowerback and the abdominal area during pregnancy
- Pain while urinating
- Constant urge to pass urine
- The urine is cloudy and at times pinkish which is because it is mixed with blood
Prevention Of A Urinary Tract Infection
- With proper treatment, a urinary tract infection can be resolved within a span of 48 hours
- The pregnant woman will advised to wear loose fitting undergarments
- Keeping the vaginal area clean and dry
- Proper hygiene is the foremost priority of preventing an infection from occurring
Presence of sugar, ketones, protein or bacteria in a woman’s urine during pregnancy can spell trouble for both the mother and her baby but early testing and proper treatment can help prevent any kind of complication. As the saying goes”A stitch in time saves nine”. It is advisable to do the above-mentioned urine tests and urine culture in order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and a normal delivery of a healthy baby.
Did your doctor perform a urine test during your first prenatal visit? Did he order Urine Culture anytime during your pregnancy? Do share your experiences in the comments section below.