The importance of producing a good urine sample in pregnancy
At every antenatal appointment, you will be required to produce a urine sample. Your urine is tested to look for several health issues that can occur during pregnancy so it is important that you give a good urine sample.
What can be told from a urine sample?
Your urine will be ‘dipsticked’ and tested for several things. These include –
– glucose – this may indicate you have gestational diabetes.
– protein – the presence of protein can mean a couple of things; it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia or of a urine infection.
– leucocytes (white cells) in your urine can also indicate a urine infection.
Urine infections can be a worry in pregnancy. They can often be the reason for premature labour. This is because if your bladder is irritated by an infection, it can irritate your womb to start contracting. Women can have urinary tract infections in pregnancy without any symptoms.
What happens if you don’t produce a good sample?
If any problems are detected with your urine, it will be sent to the laboratory for further testing. This can reveal if you have a urine infection and which antibiotics are required. Often, results can show as ‘mixed growth’. This can mean the sample has been contaminated or that the infection hasn’t quite shown up yet. In either case, you will be asked to repeat the urine sample. This will mean returning to the hospital or GP surgery. It can’t wait until your next appointment incase you do have a urine infection. Producing a good sample should eliminate extra visits to repeat urine samples due to contamination.
How to produce a good urine sample
The sample required in pregnancy is a midstream urine specimen (MSU). Urine is sterile but the first bit of your urine may contain bacteria from your skin so it’s important that the sample comes from the midstream, not the ‘first catch’.
- Wash your hands.
- The sample can easily become contaminated from any vaginal discharge you may be having. Ideally, you should wash down below with plain water before passing urine.
- You need to pass some urine into the toilet first. Without stopping the flow, put the sample bottle in place to catch the midstream part of your urine. Fill the bottle as much as you can. Any further urine can be passed into the toilet.
- Be careful not to let the bottle touch your skin; this can also contaminate the sample.
- Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- It is often easier to do the sample at home/work before your appointment so that you are not peeing under pressure when you arrive! Ask your midwife if you can take some sample bottles home with you. The sample can be done up to two hours before your appointment. If there is a longer gap before your appointment, place the bottle in a plastic bag and place it in the fridge.
- You need to drink plenty of fluids to ensure a good quantity of urine. If you are dehydrated or give a small sample, this can skew the dipstick test.
This all becomes much harder as your baby gets bigger! Some hospital may provide a funnel to help catch the sample. You can use a clean container, such a diposable cup or jam jar (wash them first) and then decant into the sample bottle but you must be very careful not to contaminate the sample bottle.
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