Prenatal Testing Basics: Urinalysis

What it is, who has it, when, why, and what it tells you.

When is the test taken?

A urinalysis, or urine test, is typically done at regular intervals throughout your pregnancy. You'll probably be asked to give a urine sample at every prenatal checkup.

Who needs to take the test, and why?

Urinalysis is routine for all pregnant women. Your urine is tested for increased amounts of sugar, which could indicate gestational diabetes, and increased amounts of protein, which could be a sign of preeclampsia. Both of these conditions require special treatment, and it's best to catch them as soon as possible. Your urine will likely also be tested for signs of a kidney or bladder infection, which would require treatment.

What's involved?

At each prenatal visit, your healthcare provider will ask you to head for the bathroom and collect a bit of urine in a sterile cup --- so try to remember not to go just before you arrive at the office! The urinalysis is performed in the office, usually by a nurse or technician who dips treated sticks into your sample.

When are test results available, and how are they interpreted?

Results are available within a few minutes. If the urinalysis detects elevated levels of either sugar or protein, your doctor may advise further tests. If you don't hear anything further about your urinalysis, then its results are probably normal.

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