During pregnancy, your health care provider will typically want to do a urine screening at least periodically. Urine tests during pregnancy look for a variety of things, such as sugar levels to check for gestational diabetes, bacteria to indicate that you may have a urinary tract infection, or the presence of protein. The presence of protein in your urine during pregnancy can mean a couple of different things.
When protein is found in your urine, it can indicate that there is some sort of a problem going on with the function of your kidneys. The most common of these types of problems tends to be an infection of the kidneys. Later on in pregnancy, protein in your urine can sometimes be indicative of a condition that is known as preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia refers to a condition in which your blood pressure is abnormally high during pregnancy. If you have preeclampsia, protein will be found in your urine. You will also retain water. Preeclampsia is often referred to toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension. More sever symptoms of preeclampsia can include fatigue, abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, the inability to tolerate light that is bright, blurred vision, shortness of breath, and infrequent urination.
The treatment for preeclampsia will depend on how far along in your pregnancy you are. If you are far enough along, and your baby is sufficiently developed, it is likely that your health care provider will want to deliver your baby sooner than planned. If your baby hasn’t developed sufficiently, and if your preeclampsia is mild, your health care provider will probably increase your prenatal visits, and instruct you to keep rested, drink more water, and take in less salt.
It is possible for preeclampsia to keep you from passing enough blood to the placenta. This will interfere with the amount of oxygen and food that your baby gets, resulting in a low birth weight. In general, however, most women that have preeclampsia can have a healthy delivery, if the preeclampsia is detected early enough and is treated properly.