If you are wondering what it means if there is a trace of protein in urine while pregnant, it is time to take a closer look at what it means.

A close look at the reasons for the trace of protein in urine while pregnant

The presence of urine is called proteinuria. Take note that a small amount of protein in urine during early pregnancy is considered normal. If there is a high amount of protein during early pregnancy, it might be an indication of an infection of some form.

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In the late phase of pregnancy, the presence of excess protein in urine can indicate a serious complication such as preeclampsia.

Testing for protein in the urine

The trace of protein in urine while pregnant can be detected with routine prenatal urine tests. These tests are carried out to monitor for infection or other conditions that might lead to complications for both the mother and baby if left untreated.

The testing for the trace of protein while pregnant will help ensure that the kidney function is normal. It also ensures that there are no other conditions that might require further assessment.

In most instances, a urine test is requested at the first prenatal appointment and periodically at future prenatal visits.

How is urine tested for protein?

The doctor will request you to provide a midstream urine sample that is stored in a sterile plastic cup.

A testing stick with a specially treated chemical strip is placed in the urine sample. The strip will change color depending on the presence of protein in the urine. It also reveals the amount of protein present, ranging from low or trace amounts to high levels.

In case the test shows a low trace of protein while pregnant, it is considered normal and nothing to be worried about. It is important to note that the output can be affected by the intake of fluid and diet. Furthermore, it might also fluctuate during the day.

What are the causes of protein in the urine?

Generally, the low levels of protein present in the urine can be either normal or possibly indicate a minor infection. An elevated level of protein is an indication of a complex and potentially serious problem.

Let us now take a close look at some of the possible conditions.

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  • Kidney infection
  • Preeclampsia or HELLP Syndrome
  • Stress
  • Fever
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Certain medications
  • Dehydration
  • Highly-strenuous exercise
  • Certain health conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, lupus, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and rheumatoid arthritis

What will happen if there is protein?

The doctor will take note of the amount of protein present and your overall health history along with any other symptoms you are experiencing.

This will help figure out the suitable course of action to take. Additionally, laboratory testing might be necessary to check if an infection is present.

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The doctor will also check if you do not have any of the following symptoms of preeclampsia which is likely to manifest in the third trimester:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sudden swelling of the feet, hands, and face
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision or flashing lights
  • Nausea and vomiting

Once your doctor is certain that the protein does not indicate any serious health issues, another test is carried out at your next appointment with advice to watch out for any symptoms.

Nevertheless, if you have any other signs that indicate a serious complication, you will be admitted to a healthcare facility for further testing and monitoring.

Final thoughts

If your routine urine tests reveal a trace of protein while pregnant, it is considered normal. Nevertheless, once the levels of protein reach high levels, it is best to consult a doctor for further assessment.

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