During pregnancy the future mother undergoes various medical examinations: she has to pay regular visits to her doctor from the moment she found out about her interesting condition till the delivery. As a rule, the pregnant woman provides a urine sample before each of these visits. To someone it may seem surprising. The same test every time – what for? However, this simple test can tell everything about the slightest deviations from the norm. It is very important for the prevention of diseases and elimination of the pathologies during their initial stages.
The most important thing is to monitor protein in urine during pregnancy and the level of leucocytes. High protein in urine is a common occurrence during this period, it is a symptom that the kidneys are under great stress or there is some kidney disorder.
During pregnancy, the load on the urinary system is twice as high as before the conception. That’s why the kidneys become prone to various infections. The gradually growing fetus and the uterus increasing in size put pressure on the ureters, which only complicates the situation.
The normal concentration of protein in urine during pregnancy
The urine of any healthy person contains a definite amount of protein. Its high amount – the so-called “proteinuria” – is usually caused by too much protein-containing food, stresses or physical exhaustion. In such situations, the high amount of protein in urine is considered normal.
Absolutely healthy people don’t have too much protein in urine. As for pregnant women, the increased amount of it – about 0.2 gm – is alright. By the end of pregnancy, doctors consider 300 mg of protein a normal occurrence (a weakly pronounced proteinuria) because the stress on the kidneys becomes greater. But if this indicator is off scale, it can be a sign of some serious pathology.
The test for protein in urine during pregnancy
If the urine test shows high protein, the doctor usually does another one to prove or disprove the preliminary diagnosis.
The thing is that sometimes proteinuria isn’t related to the pathological processes in the body but has a physiological nature. Protein in urine during pregnancy can be found because the future mother has eaten a lot of protein food the day before the test: milk, eggs, cottage cheese; or has been exercising; or has had a lot of stress which is accompanied by moral exhaustion. The cause of protein in urine during pregnancy can be high body temperature, profuse sweating, or even a cold shower the day before passing the test.
The so-called “false proteinuria” is caused by the inability of the future mom to follow the rules of collecting the urine sample or failure to keep hygienic. In order to find out if the protein in urine during pregnancy is false-positive, it is necessary to pass the test one more time, thoroughly prepared. The woman should take a warm shower in the morning, wash off the vaginal discharge (if necessary), and collect fresh urine into a sterile container. That’s the best way of getting the most accurate result.
The causes of high protein in urine during pregnancy
The pathological proteinuria is caused by serious diseases. The first possible cause of high protein in urine during pregnancy is such a disease as gestosis. Doctors can suspect this dangerous pathology not only because the urine test has shown high protein. In order to prove the assumed diagnosis, the proteinuria should be accompanied by severe edema caused by the high vascular permeability and chronic hypertension (the main symptoms – ringing in the ears, dizziness, fatigue). As a rule, gestosis occurs during the second half of pregnancy.
If your gynecologist suspects you suffer from gestosis, they will insist on hospitalization. The fact is that sometimes it is very hard to tell apart gestosis and kidney diseases because the latter have the same symptoms. The future mother has to be monitored 24/7 by medical experts so that the pathology could be diagnosed and cured in time.
High protein in urine during pregnancy can also be a sign of such kidney diseases, as pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis. The former one has characteristic features: pain in the lower back and the bladder. The most common symptom of the latter is the strange color of the urine – “the color of the rotten meat”. Besides high protein in urine, these diseases are well-known by such symptoms as high leucocytes and erythrocytes in urine.
When the test has shown protein in urine during pregnancy, doctors prescribe treatment according to the clinical picture. If the amount of protein is more than 300 mg, and such an occurrence is the aftermath of a kidney inflammatory process, your doctor will have to treat the primary cause, the root of the problem. For example, if pyelonephritis is diagnosed, the gynecologist should prescribe the pregnant woman anti-inflammatory medications and diuretics. For treating acute and chronic pyelonephritis antibiotics are prescribed. In order to relieve the stress on kidneys, the future mother should sleep on her back. It’s also good to engage in physical exercise. High protein in urine during pregnancy caused by kidney disorders, as a rule, easily goes down.
If this is not the case, then the reason for high protein in urine during pregnancy is far more serious, for example, gestosis. The treatment for gestosis is quite complicated. In most cases, doctors try to stabilize the test results and keep them on the same level till childbirth. Sometimes even a full-term pregnancy becomes a possible outcome. But gestosis most often ends in premature birth.
In order to facilitate the work of the kidneys, the doctor can prescribe plant-based medications: Canephron or Phytolysinum. Herbal teas, cowberry and cranberry drinks are also very effective.
And remember: the main thing is your mindset! When you face such an unpleasant situation, your future baby’s health is your priority. And when the mother is calm and confident, everything will be alright.