It’s normal to occasionally have a small amount of sugar in your urine during pregnancy, but if you have elevated levels at a couple of prenatal visits in a row or a very high level at one visit, it could mean you have gestational diabetes. Your provider may have you take a glucose challenge test (Glucola) to find out if that’s the case. (Even if your urine test results are normal, you’ll have a glucose challenge test between 24 and 28 weeks to check for this relatively common condition.)
Excess protein in your urine can be a sign of a UTI, kidney damage, or certain other disorders. Later in your pregnancy, it can also be a sign of preeclampsia if it’s accompanied by high blood pressure. If you have protein in your urine but your blood pressure is normal, your sample will be sent to the lab for a culture to see whether you have a UTI.
Ketones become present in the urine when the body starts breaking down stored or ingested fat for energy. This can happen when you’re not getting enough carbohydrates (your body’s usual source of energy).
If you’re suffering from severe nausea and vomiting or you’ve lost weight, your practitioner may check your urine for ketones. If your ketone reading is high and you can’t keep any food or liquid down, you may need intravenous fluids and medication. If ketones are found in combination with sugar, it could be a sign of diabetes.
Blood cells or bacteria
Blood cells or nitrites (produced by certain bacteria) in your urine can signal a urinary tract infection. If the dipstick test shows that you have nitrites or enzymes that indicate bacteria or blood cells in the urine, a urine sample will be sent to the lab to see whether you have a UTI.
Note: Your provider will routinely check for sugar and protein, but may check for the other indicators only when there is reason to suspect that something’s amiss.
Why it’s important: Urinalysis can identify several relatively common problems occurring during pregnancy and help with early intervention and treatment.