Protein In Urine During Pregnancy Causes Levels Full Fact Sheet
What does it mean to have protein in urine?
Pregnancy brings a lot of changes in a woman’s body. Every organ gets affected, and an array of complications may also occur if these changes are not regularly and closely monitored. All the observations and monitoring have to be done during the antenatal period, which is the time when you get pregnant until the time you deliver the baby.
Some necessary tests
For a doctor to know that your health is not at risk and that your baby is growing well, they might run a couple of tests in you to ensure that nothing is going wrong inside. For this, multiple blood test, radiological test, medical examinations have to be done repeatedly to make sure everything is on track and is under control.
These tests include serum hormone tests, urine tests, ultrasound, blood tests for infections, and many others. In this article, we will have a closer look at the urine analysis and what can the composition of urine means for a pregnant woman.
At this point in time, anything out of the ordinary should be concerning. A urine test can tell a lot about a woman’s health while she is pregnant. Since just like any other organ, the kidneys are also playing a vital role in expelling the harmful metabolites of the body, during pregnancy they work twice as hard to remove these harmful substances the mother’s blood is also contaminated with the baby’s harmful metabolites.
Normally, the urine does not include white blood cells, red blood cells, or proteins. But if it does, a few health concerns raise their flags, and the woman and her doctor should further investigate the cause because a delay in the treatment of the underlying cause can lead to many unwanted consequences.
What are the levels of protein in urine during pregnancy?
At times, it is normal to find a little amount of protein in the urine of a pregnant lady. This is because the kidneys are working extra hard to do their job as per the need of the body. Here are some levels of protein in the urine that may tell about the health of a pregnant woman.
Trace of protein in the urine
It is very common to find traces of protein in the urine. Most of the time, it does not mean anything of alarm for the woman or the doctor.
Level + 1 protein in the urine
One protein or + protein is the amount that has a little bit more protein than mere traces. But again, the levels are not that high and do not cause fear in a woman. However, + protein can be associated with urinary tract infection. This condition is extremely common in pregnancy, and it is also very thoroughly treated.
A urinary tract infection can occur due to a couple of reasons, such as decreased water intake, which is the most common reason. Other than this, the growing uterus puts pressure on the urinary bladder. This leads to the retention of urine in the bladder, which becomes a breeding ground for the bacteria.
On the other hand, the hormonal fluctuations result in the change in the composition of the urinary tract of a woman, making it easier for a bacterium to invade and cause an infection. Thankfully, a urinary tract infection is readily treated with antibiotics over the course of just one week.
Some symptoms of UTI include:
o Burning urination
o Blood in urine
o Cloudy urine
o A feeling of incomplete urination
o Painful sexual intercourse
o Bad odor from the urine
o Uncontrolled passage of urine
Level ++ 2 protein in the urine
Two proteins or ++ proteins raise a bigger concern is detected. This level of protein is mostly because of underlying kidney disease. The good part is that the kidney disease is not caused by pregnancy, per se. But pregnancy can aggravate the symptoms of kidney disease. For this reason, a woman to strictly asked to forbid getting pregnant or else can it be fatal.
However, it is rare that kidney problems occur during pregnancy, but if they do, here is a list of symptoms that may help you identify a possible kidney disease:
o Swelling in the body, especially the feet and around the eyes
o Increased blood pressure
o Easy fatiguability
o Decreased appetite and taste
A series of measures have to been taken to reduce the symptoms and the severity of the kidney disease. The last resort is to go for dialysis or even kidney transplant; therefore, if such need is developed during pregnancy, it becomes extremely hard to counter the problem. Hence, it is not suggested for women with kidney disease to conceive.
Level +++ 3 protein pregnancy
Three proteins or +++ proteins can be very dangerous and even fatal if not diagnosed or treated in time. This condition is known as preeclampsia, and it only occurs in a woman who is pregnant.
Preeclampsia is a health risk both to the woman and her baby. It primarily occurs because of the placenta, where the attachment of the placenta is not right or due to any other reason involving the placenta, the blood vessels constrict, which in turn, increases the blood pressure in the pregnant woman to highly dangerous levels.
This condition can drastically affect the kidneys, brain, or liver. And if left untreated, it may progress to a more severe disease called eclampsia, which further includes seizures or stroke.
A few symptoms of preeclampsia include:
o Severe headache
o Swelling in the body
o Weight gain
o Decrease in vision
o Reduced urine output
Risk factors for eclampsia include:
o Mother’s age greater than 40
o First pregnancy
o Known case of hypertension
o Multiple pregnancies
o History of preeclampsia with previous pregnancies
A woman who is suffering from preeclampsia has to go through some severe consequences. She may have to deliver her baby before she reaches her term, or else the risk of the baby receiving reduced blood supply greatly increases. Other than this, a woman may even progress to have seizures and strokes if the symptoms are not controlled at the right time.
Even so, medications and rapid treatment protocol saves the lives of many women and prevent them from going to a severe stage of the disease.
Protein in urine pregnancy test
If you find any symptom that is out of the ordinary, then it is best for you to speak to your doctor about this. Your doctor will suggest a couple of tests to find out what exactly has gone wrong. If you are worried that your urine is not as usual, then two things can raise red flags.
24 hours of protein levels in pregnancy
This is the best way to monitor the kidney functions in an individual. A 24-hour urine collection will unfold a lot of kidney problems. Other than the abnormal levels of proteins, a pregnant woman does produce more protein in her urine than a regular person. But the main trouble arises when the protein levels are much higher than the safe border.
If a 24-hour urine test shows proteins that are less than 30 mg/dL, then it is fine. But if the numbers rise beyond 30 mg/dL, it is highly possible that the woman has entered into preeclampsia.
Protein in urine during 37th week of pregnancy
As the pregnancy progresses to its last stages, the number of visits to a doctor increases to weekly visits. If a urine test shows increased protein at the 37th week of pregnancy, then this is indicating towards preeclampsia. And when these results come out, prompt treatment is required to halt in the disease in its track and save the woman from further deterioration.
You will be given symptomatic care to control them from progressing to the worse stage. The definite treatment for preeclampsia is the delivery of the baby.
If preeclampsia has occurred before the term of the delivery, then the baby is delivered via C-section. And the baby is kept under strict surveillance to check for their breathing and other vital signs as the baby could not mature because of the preterm delivery.
How to reduce protein in urine during pregnancy
There are multiple ways you can try and reduce the symptoms in case your symptoms have not to worsen. Your doctor would recommend you to follow strict measures and prevent having another episode of preeclampsia. Here are a few of the ways you can try to reduce the excretion of proteins in the urine:
o Increase your water intake to up to 10 glasses per day
o Make sure you visit your doctor more often for a regular check-up
o Maintain your health by eating food with lesser protein
o Reduce the use of salt in your diet, and completely stop using added salt
o Avoid cheese and other dairy products
o Add more fruits and vegetable servings in your daily diet
o Try eating legumes instead of red meat and fish