What could go wrong with pregnancy? Well, a LOT can. For example, protein in urine during pregnancy is one of the most problematic facts. 

Why? You start to experience much new development inside your body. Changes in the size of your tummy and people congratulating is the least of your worry. 

But, if you see protein in your pee and that, too, with a higher level of blood pressure, then things start to look worrisome. Several reasons, such as stress, fever, and Preeclampsia, could be behind protein-filled urine during pregnancy. According to the statistics of the US, around 4% of pregnancies involve Preeclampsia. 

Yes, it can also cause severe issues to the baby inside a pregnant woman. So, here are things you want to know about Preeclampsia or protein in the urine.

🤰 What Causes Protein In Urine During Pregnancy? 

Causes Protein In Urine During Pregnancy

Several developments and potential threats keep you on your toes during pregnancy. The kidneys, especially, are working tremendously to filter different types of waste from the blood. However, they also keep several things, such as protein – a necessary element for the human body to thrive. 

Once the kidney filters the waste, it releases them into the urine. But, when the protein gets into the urine, something is not right with the kidney. It might not be functioning properly. 

However, it is typical for the protein level in the urine to increase during pregnancy. But, if you leave pregnancy out of the picture, the increment of protein in the urine can be caused due to –

  • Stress (both emotional and physical.)
  • Dehydration. 
  • Getting exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Fever

However, protein in the urine could indicate more health issues. Two common problems regarding this may occur both before and after the 20th week of pregnancy. 

Before The 20th Week Of Pregnancy

Before the 20th week of pregnancy, excessive protein in the urine could mean chronic proteinuria. 

The reasons might include different issues with the kidneys and heart diseases. These reasons are not necessarily related to your pregnancy. You can develop UTI or Urinary Tract Infection. In this case, you require immediate medical attention and get the condition treated. 

After The 20th Week Of Pregnancy 

If you are experiencing protein in the urine during pregnancy (after 20th weeks), doctors look for signs related to Preeclampsia. This health condition comes with high blood pressure and can cause potential damage to the liver and the kidneys.

During this time, you also have the chance of developing HELLP syndrome. It is far more severe compared to Preeclampsia. You might develop it alongside Preeclampsia, or it can develop on its own. 

If any of these conditions are left untreated, it could mean potential harm to both the mother and the baby.

🤰 Symptoms Of Protein In The Urine During Pregnancy 

Symptoms Of Protein In The Urine During Pregnancy

When you have protein in urine during pregnancy, you will not see many symptoms unless you face a UTI. But conditions like Preeclampsia come with different symptoms worth noting down. The main part of it is an excessive protein in the urine. Here are some signs you should look for –

  • Retaining more water than usual.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Protein in the urine. 
  • Rapid gain of weight. 
  • Swelling in the wrists, ankles, and eyes. 
  • Burning sensations during urination.
  • Back pain (although normal in pregnancy) 
  • Frequent and increased urination. 
  • Foamy, bloody, or brown urination.

Worrisome Symptoms To Look Out For

There are additional signs indicating the reason behind excessive protein in the urine. And these symptoms and the underlying causes might be more worrisome. Here are a few you need to watch out for –

  • Severe Headaches.
  • Blurry vision, or loss of vision or sensitivity to light.
  • Vomiting and nausea. 
  • Lowered urine output.
  • Shortness of breath.

It is common to gain some weight during pregnancy. However, you may also gain more weight due to the swelling in the face and the hands.

Tests You Have To Take 

As you might have already guessed, Preeclampsia can be worrisome. If increased blood pressure coupled with protein in the urine is visible, it might suggest Preeclampsia. It may cause premature birth, organ damage, fetal growth restriction, organ damage, and other serious conditions.

So, it is highly likely, that the doctor will ask you for a urine test. The dipstick test is common – it is the procedure to check the level of protein in the urine by dipping a strip inside the urine. The chemical patches used in the dipstick test react to the presence of protein inside the urine.

Usually, doctors don’t prescribe a protein test from the urine. However, if you have different health issues, such as diabetes, and high blood pressure, then there is a chance of developing Preeclampsia. Usually, 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams of protein is common in the urine. During pregnancy, it might increase.

The test result for urine tests is between + to ++++. However, if your result is above normal, doctors will ask for 24 hours of urine protein test. They usually exempt the morning urine. If the result comes with a high amount of protein, it suggests kidney and other health issues. 

Protein In Urine During Pregnancy: Is There Any Reason To Worry? 

Protein In Urine During Pregnancy Is There Any Reason To Worry

This should be both worrisome and the opposite. If you have high blood pressure alongside protein in the urine, you might be experiencing gestational hypertension; however, if you are diagnosed with Preeclampsia, which can be dangerous for the baby if not treated. 

However, some more severe symptoms, such as HELLP syndrome, can cause heavy bleeding. It causes fluid and blood clots inside the lung. Pregnant women can suffer from kidney or lung failure due to HELLP syndrome. 

If you are diagnosed with Preeclampsia, doctors usually ask to recommend delivering the baby at 37 weeks of pregnancy. However, early diagnosis can help you take proper treatment. Later discovery of a protein in urine during pregnancy prompts you to make quick decisions about delivery. 

According to several medical histories, it had bad effects on maternal health. So, you should stay updated on your pregnancy week by week. Also, consult with your doctor if such complications arise. 

Can I Reduce Protein Level In Urine?

There is no proven way to lower the level of protein in the urine. Also, Preeclampsia is pretty random among pregnant women. There is no foolproof way to prevent it. But people with Preeclampsia are prone to high blood pressure and hypertension. However, if you have a medical history of high blood pressure, then your healthcare provider might ask you to take baby aspirin. It is effective against developing Preeclampsia. 

But often protein in urine during early pregnancy can be related to some previous conditions, or it can be genetic as well, and there might not be any way to prevent it. If you want to take care of it, then it is best to think of it before getting pregnant, but if you are already pregnant, there are a few doctor recommended things that you can try to lower the risk of getting preeclampsia.

Taking Low-Dose Aspirin

If this is something that you know you have, chronic blood pressure along with other health related issues like diabetes or kidney disease, you can take low doses of aspirin. The doctor recommended dose is 81 milligrams which you can take from the fourth month of pregnancy. Even though it is an over-the-counter medicine, it is best if you consult a doctor before consumption.

Taking Calcium Supplements

If you are aware of the condition that you have a deficiency of calcium, then taking calcium supplements can also be a way of preventing preeclampsia. but getting calcium deficiency is quite rare in developed nations, so this method is not going to be helpful in all countries.

You are at the risk of getting preeclampsia more, if this is your first pregnancy. And it might reoccur of you had this condition during your first pregnancy. Seek help from a doctor, if you think something might help you as you are the one who knows the history of your health best. 

When Should You Be Worried? When Should You See A Doctor?

If you normally have high blood pressure, but your level of proteins is fine, then this is most probable gestational hypertension. We know when there is high levels of proteins along with high blood pressure, then the diagnosis is preeclampsia. The condition might turn out to be a risk for you and your baby if you leave it untreated.

It is best to seek medical attention, as soon as you feel something is off, even though you cannot pinpoint on the specific reason or find a symptom for it. It is best to keep an eye and pay attention to yourself as soon as you start to feel something iffy.

Wrapping Up!

It is normal to worried if you find out that your protein levels are high in the urine test results. But before you start to freak out, remember that during pregnancy it is quite normal to have high protein levels in urine. You should be worried if that level goes above 300 mg/day.

Just an elevated level of protein does not mean that you have preeclampsia, but if you get the condition after 20 weeks of pregnancy, then that is probably the diagnosis for it. It is best to be in touch with your doctor and get regular checkups and run tests regularly if you see fit. But even if you get preeclampsia, doctors would know how to deal with the situation and do what is best for you and your baby.

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Shahnawaz Alam
Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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