When you get pregnant, you might think the only time you’ll have to test your urine is when you take a pregnancy test. Unfortunately, that is not the case. To make sure everything is safe and you and your baby stay healthy, you will do a lot more urine testing than ever before.
Depending on where you go for your appointments will most likely depend on when and how much you’ll be tested. During your first prenatal visit, you will most likely be asked for a urine sample so it can be sent to the lab for a complete urine analysis. Some doctors, or practitioners, will ask you for a sample once a visit, or every trimester, and test it right there with a dipstick. Other doctors might not ask for one again unless you are experiencing symptoms that will warrant another test. You might be asked to produce something called a clean-catch midstream specimen. Some others might just ask you to pee a little in a cup. If you aren’t told what a clean-catch midstream specimen is or how to give one, don’t worry, we can help.
When you are given the cup to urinate in and sent to the bathroom, you are also given an antiseptic wipe. When you enter the bathroom, wash your hands before starting. With your clean fingers, separate your labia and clean your vulva from front to back with the wipe. Urinate for a few seconds into the toilet before sliding the cup under to collect a small sample. It is important to try not to get your fingers inside the cup. When you’re done, cap it and give it to the medical assistant.
The medical assistant will then check your urine by putting a colored stick into the cup and comparing it to a chart. The assistant will write it on your chart for your doctor to see.
You’re probably still wondering what exactly you are being tested for when you have to pee so much for a doctor. When your doctor asks for your urine, he or she is mainly looking for 4 or 5 things.
- Sugar: It is normal to have sugar in your urine during pregnancy, but it is not good when there are elevate levels. If you have high levels of sugar after a couple of visits, it could mean you have gestational diabetes and your doctor will want to do a glucose challenge test.
- Protein: Your doctor is initially looking to make sure you don’t have a UTI, kidney damage, or other problems. It could also be a sign of preeclampsia when accompanied by high blood pressure.
- Ketones: These are produced when your body starts breaking down stored or ingested fat for energy. This can happen if you aren’t getting enough carbohydrates.
- Blood Cells or Bacteria: At your first appointment, you are tested for a UTI, if there are no signs of it, then it is less likely you’ll get one later in pregnancy unless you have a history with chronic UTIs.