When is my urine checked during pregnancy?
- You should usually have your urine tested early in pregnancy. Your midwife may ask you to bring a sample in a container or sample bottle. Treatment is advised if any germs (bacteria) are found - even if you have no symptoms. If bacteria are found, you should have regular routine urine tests throughout the pregnancy.
- You will normally be asked to bring a urine sample at each of your antenatal checks. How often this is depends on how your pregnancy is progressing and whether you have any problems or complications.
- You should also have your urine tested if you develop symptoms of bladder infection (cystitis) or kidney infection at any stage during pregnancy.
How is urine tested?
You will normally be asked to provide what is called a midstream urine sample. This means you pee the first part into the toilet, the next bit into the bottle, and the end of the stream back into the toilet. This is so that the part of the urine being tested is just the urine itself, and isn't being muddled with any of the germs it has flushed off your skin.
Your urine can be tested very quickly, in a minute or two, with a dipstick test. This gives an indication as to whether there may be an infection. It also can check for:
- Sugar. Your urine may contain sugar if you have developed diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
- Protein. Your urine may contain protein if your blood pressure is too high in a condition called pre-eclampsia. Infection can also result in protein in the urine sample.
- Ketones. Your urine may contain ketones if you are lacking in fluid (dehydrated).
- Blood. Your urine may contain blood if you have an infection, or if you have some pregnancy-related bleeding.
If the dipstick is completely clear, an infection is unlikely. If it tests positive, the sample will be sent to the lab for further analysis. This test takes a few days but will show which germs are causing your infection. It will also show the best antibiotic to treat it.
Did you find this information useful?
- Management of suspected bacterial urinary tract infection in adults; Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network - SIGN (updated guidelines 2012)
- Guidelines on Urological Infections; European Association of Urology (2015)
- Urinary tract infection (lower) - women; NICE CKS, July 2015 (UK access only)
- Vazquez JC, Abalos E; Treatments for symptomatic urinary tract infections during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19 (1):CD002256. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002256.pub2.
- Schneeberger C, Geerlings SE, Middleton P, et al; Interventions for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Nov 14 11:CD009279. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009279.pub2.
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