Protein in Urine During Pregnancy – Symptoms, Test, Treat, and Prevent

Nicole Valentine
Nicole Valentine
January 27, 2023
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Charisse Cartin
Protein in Urine During Pregnancy – Symptoms, Test, Treat, and Prevent

Protein in the urine, known as proteinuria, can be an indicator of health problems. It's particularly worrisome during pregnancy. Proteinuria in pregnancy often indicates a serious underlying condition that requires medical treatment.

What Causes Protein in Urine During Pregnancy?

Protein levels in the urine naturally increase during pregnancy due to physiological changes in a pregnant woman's body. But high protein in urine during pregnancy can be a sign that something is wrong. High protein levels during the first half of pregnancy can indicate a minor infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI). It could also be due to an underlying health problem that was present before pregnancy, such as heart disease or kidney issues.

After 20 weeks of pregnancy, high urine protein levels are a more significant concern. Along with elevated blood pressure, proteinuria in pregnancy is a key symptom of preeclampsia, a condition that can be dangerous to both mother and baby.

What Are the Symptoms of Proteinuria in Pregnancy?

Proteinuria, whether due to an infection or preeclampsia, is a sign that your kidneys are struggling to filter urine properly. You may have no symptoms at all1 with proteinuria. If you do experience symptoms, they may include:

  • frequent or painful urination
  • foamy or bloody urine
  • swollen ankles, hands, or face
  • back pain

If you experience blurred vision, decreased urination, severe headaches, shortness of breath, or right-side abdominal pain, contact your medical provider immediately, as these are sometimes signs of severe preeclampsia2. You can learn more about general symptoms of proteinuria in this blog.

How is Proteinuria Treated During Pregnancy?

You may be wondering how to reduce protein in urine during pregnancy. Because proteinuria is a symptom rather than a condition, there's no effective way to decrease your protein levels. Instead, you should work with your healthcare provider to treat the infection or condition that's causing elevated urine protein. If you have a UTI or other infection, your provider will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics.

If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, your doctor should monitor you and your baby closely. They may prescribe medications to manage your blood pressure. If you are near full-term and your condition is severe, your doctor might induce labor to ensure your baby is delivered safely.

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How to Check Protein in Urine During Pregnancy?

Many of the symptoms of proteinuria, such as back pain and a frequent need to urinate, are also common in healthy pregnancies. A home test for protein in urine can help you determine if your symptoms are a normal part of pregnancy or due to a medical condition. Even without symptoms, you can use urine protein test strips to monitor for protein in your urine. This will allow you to catch potential medical issues early so you can see your doctor and receive prompt treatment. Early diagnosis improves outcomes for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

An at-home urine protein test strip or a Urinox-10 multi-parameter urine dipstick test can quickly detects if there's protein in your urine. The test is convenient and affordable and can be performed in the privacy of your own home. Take charge of your health and your pregnancy by monitoring your urine protein levels at home.

Refer to this blog to learn about lifestyle choices that can help to manage proteinuria.

  1. PF Staff, “Signs and Symptoms,” Preeclampsia Foundation, Accessed Jan. 26, 2023.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff, “Preeclampsia,” Mayo Clinic, Accessed Jan. 26, 2023.
About the Author
Nicole Valentine

Nicole Valentine is a blog and article writer with experience writing about a huge array of topics. She is passionate about sustainability, healthy living, and mindful parenting.

About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Charisse Cartin

Charisse Cartin is a talented and dedicated editor who has contributed significantly to this blog.

The blog was also reviewed by the Diagnox content team. Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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