Urine test in pregnancy

The urinalysis is a very useful test to monitor the progress of pregnancy, which is performed about once a month. To obtain reliable results, it is important to do it correctly: let’s see together how.

The urinalysis is one of the tests that is most frequently performed during pregnancy: in fact, it is usually prescribed from the first obstetric visit and, after the first trimester, about once a month .

This simple analysis, absolutely non-invasive and risk-free, is very useful for monitoring the progress of the pregnancy and provides valuable information on the health of the expectant mother.

What is the urine test for during pregnancy?

Urinalysis detects and measures the amount of various substances in a urine sample, such as sugars (glucose), proteins , blood cells, and bacteria .

This information will allow the gynecologist or midwife to rule out the presence of urinary tract infections , such as cystitis , or pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia . 

How to read the test report?

To be interpreted correctly, the urinalysis report must be evaluated as a whole by the gynecologist or obstetrician .

In general, however, we can say that it is made up of two sections: the chemical-physical examination of the urine and the examination of the urine sediment .

Physico-chemical examination of the urine

This part of the test analyzes the density , pH , appearance and color of the urine . This information allows for example to understand if the expectant mother drinks enough or if there are any infections .

Furthermore, the exam includes the research and analysis of some substances that can provide useful indications on the expectant mother’s state of health, including:

  • glucose – beyond a certain threshold it can lead to suspicion of gestational diabetes;
  • protein – high amounts could indicate a urinary tract infection, while high blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia;
  • hemoglobin – indicates the presence of blood in the urine, which could be caused for example by haemorrhagic cystitis.

Examination of urine sediment

To carry out this part of the analysis, a few drops of urine are centrifuged and the sediment deposited on the bottom of the tube is analyzed under a microscope. The exam may show:

  • red blood cells (erythrocytes/red blood cells) – indicate the presence of blood in the urine;
  • white blood cells (leukocytes) – high numbers are a sign of inflammation or infection of the urinary tract;
  • bacteria or fungi – if present they can indicate a urinary infection.

How is the urine test done?

To carry out this analysis, it is necessary to collect the first urine in the morning in a container which, if a urine culture is also required , must be sterile .

Before harvesting, it is good to wash your hands and private parts thoroughly , using a mild detergent.

At this point, the container can be filled with the so-called  intermediate stream of urine . In essence, it is about:

  • start urinating;
  • stop for a moment and only then place the container under the flow to fill it ;
  • close the container and finish urinating normally. 

In this way, only the intermediate part of urine will be used for analysis , while the first (which could be contaminated by the previous urination) and the last will be rejected from the analysis .

Finally, it is important to deliver the sample to the analysis laboratory within two hours  of collection , to avoid alterations that could give unreliable results.

Alternatively, the container can be stored in the refrigerator until time of delivery, for up to 12 hours .

How much does a urine test cost during pregnancy?

This test is one of the tests that can be performed free of charge with the National Health Service during pregnancy. To obtain the exemption, the prescription must include the code M + the week of pregnancy in progress (for example M20 if the test must be performed in the twentieth week). In the case of a high-risk pregnancy , however, the code to report will be M50 .

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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