As part of every routine antenatal appointment with your midwife your urine will be tested. This is an important test as the results can identify the early signs of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy) and also pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure).
How do I collect a sample?
You can collect a small tube suitable for storing urine from your midwife or doctor’s receptionist. You need to collect your urine sample mid-stream as this will lower the risk of collecting contaminated urine so you will need to wee for a few seconds before putting the tube under the flow. You may find it tricky at first but you will get better at collecting a urine sample. If you get urine on your hands simply wash your hands with soap as usual, if you get urine on the outside of the sample tube, you can wash it with the lid screwed on tightly.
You will hand over your urine sample to your midwife and she will insert a special plastic stick known as a dipstick into it. If you have and glucose (sugar) or protein in your urine, the stick will change colour. Your midwife will tell you the results within a few seconds and the results will be recorded in you handheld antenatal notes.
If a presence of glucose is found in your urine, it may indicate a condition known as gestational diabetes although it may also just be an indication that you had eaten something sugary before collecting your sample. Your midwife will record this information and if glucose is found in a second test, you will be sent for an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) which can determine whether or not you have gestational diabetes.
If protein is discovered in your urine it may be simply because your kidneys are working harder now that you are pregnant. It may also be a sign that you have a urinary tract infection (UTI) in which case your urine sample may need further testing to determine which type of UTI you have and a course of antibiotics may be needed to clear the infection. However, protein in your urine can also be a sign of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is more common after 20 weeks but can be a very serious condition if un-diagnosed. Pre-eclampsia can be treated and may require extra antenatal check-ups.
If you have any questions about collecting a urine sample or how and why it is tested, your midwife will be happy to help you at an antenatal appointment.
by Jenny, mum to William and James