If you've ever been pregnant, there's no doubt that you received a urinalysis, or urine test, at every routine OB-GYN checkup. Urinalysis tests are vital to protect the health of you and your baby.
The Importance of Urine Test Strips
Urinalysis test strips, also commonly known as urine test strips, are used during pregnancy to measure several important health parameters to diagnose and monitor systemic and metabolic diseases - especially those that may not produce any noticeable signs or symptoms in their early stages.
Some of these parameters include signs of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, glucosuria, hematuria, inflammation, and urinary tract bacteria. The following sections explain the most commonly tracked urine parameters during pregnancy and their significance.
Leukocytes are white blood cells that help fight infections within the body. When there are leukocytes in urine during pregnancy, this indicates that you have inflammation in your urinary tract.
With an at home UTI test strip, you can easily check signs of inflammation or leukocytes in urine during pregnancy.
Healthy urine contains a type of nitrogen chemical called nitrates. However, nitrates turn into nitrites when bacteria enter your urinary tract, causing nitrituria.
Nitrituria could indicate you have a UTI. If left undetected, the bacteria can spread to your bladder and kidneys, leading to a more severe kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Urine test strips are vital for detecting urinary nitrites in pregnant women before this occurs.
Bacteria in urine often result in inflammation in the urinary tract (because your body's immune system is fighting the infection). Urine test strips are usually lined with Leukocytes and Nitrite reagent pads. By testing both parameters, you can check both inflammation and bacteria in the urinary tract.
UTIs during pregnancy require prompt medical attention. Not only are they painful, but the infection can spread quickly to the kidneys if left untreated. By monitoring your Leukocyte and Nitrite levels in urine, you can easily track potential signs of a urinary tract infection from the convenience of your home.
When you have high levels of protein during pregnancy, this can indicate that you may have preeclampsia - a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Using a home test for protein in urine can help you monitor your levels in between visits and detect any elevations before it causes pregnancy complications. Often available over the counter as protein in urine pregnancy strips, they are an affordable and convenient alternative to lab visits for frequent urine protein testing.
An at-home test for protein in urine is a convenient and affordable way to check protein levels in the urine.
Hematuria, the presence of blood cells in your urine, may sound alarming but is not always serious. Benign hematuria can be caused by exercise or physical exertion. However, abnormal levels can indicate a deeper systemic issue that can affect your pregnancy, such as:
Liver disease, or
Blood in the urine is not always visible to the human eye. Using a urine test to detect blood in urine during pregnancy helps you and your doctor diagnose and treat any root causes of hematuria before it becomes serious.
Up to 70% of pregnant women develop glycosuria, which is the presence of reducing sugars in the blood. Glucosuria, a condition when glucose is at higher concentrations in urine than normal, is the most common type of glycosuria.
When you have too much glucose in your urine, pregnancy can become dangerous for both you and your baby. For example, it may lead to gestational diabetes. Increased sugar also leads to increased bacteria in the urine, so using urine glucose test strips is crucial for early detection.
When testing glucose in urine, it is helpful to monitor other parameters, such as ketones and nitrite, to aid in the diagnosis of underlying health conditions causing glucosuria.
Ketones in urine during pregnancy can be a sign of gestational diabetes. Untreated diabetes during pregnancy can be a health risk for both you and your baby.
When the body breaks down fat for energy, it naturally produces an acid called ketones. A buildup of ketones in the bloodstream leads to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis.
If you develop ketoacidosis, your pregnancy, and even your life can quickly become compromised, especially if left untreated. Urine ketone test strips or multiparameter urine test strips measure the level of ketones in urine during pregnancy, allowing you to ensure they remain at normal levels.
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Benefits of Regular At-home Urine Tests
Mothers typically have to wait a month in between their doctor's visits to test their urine. However, testing urine regularly at home offers many benefits to new or repeating mothers:
Detect Health Conditions in the Early Stages
Urine tests can detect elevated levels of important substances in your urine before the symptoms manifest themselves. This allows you to detect any potentially dangerous health conditions early and take steps to remedy them, which can greatly reduce your risk of pregnancy complications.
Monitor and Track Your Health
Taking a urinalysis test regularly can help you monitor your health. For example, you can record your readings for each test and gradually create a trend. If you notice any parameters suddenly or steadily rising, you can immediately contact your doctor in between visits for further diagnosis and prevention.
Assist With Diet and Medication
The foods and medications you intake during your pregnancy can have a direct effect on the health of you and your baby. Some foods and medications can elevate blood sugar, blood pressure, acid levels, or nitrates. Since the body is going through rapid changes during pregnancy, it may be difficult to pinpoint the underlying conditions resulting from those experiences.
When you are aware of your urine readings, you can choose foods and supplements that keep your levels within the normal range and avoid those that raise them. You can also adjust, discontinue, or start medications to improve your condition based on your physician's feedback.
Take Control of Your Health With Home Urine Tests
Regularly getting your urine tested is beneficial for ensuring healthy pregnancies. Frequent testing can be expensive and require doctor visits that become more difficult as you progress in your pregnancy. Using Diagnox Health's Urinox-10 at-home urine test strips can help you monitor the same parameters more frequently from the comfort and privacy of your home. These simple, affordable, and quick 10-parameter urinalysis test strips enable you to easily stay on top of your health, keeping you and your baby safe.
J. E. Delzell, Jr. and M. L. Lefevre, “Urinary Tract Infections During Pregnancy,” Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(3):713-720.
Markus MacGill, "What do leukocytes in the urine mean?," Medical News Today, Accessed on Feb. 17, 2023.
About the Author
Alexis Williams is a Georgia-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She uses that thirst combined with her experience in various fields to write about subjects valuable to individuals and businesses. Alexis has a robust catalog of experience that includes SEO content, blogging, product reviews/comparisons, research papers, and more.
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