A lot of pregnant women, to be more precise up to 50%, test positive for glucose in urine. But what does it mean, exactly?
It's easy to jump to the conclusion that they may be suffering from gestational diabetes, but that would definitely be a wrong diagnosis. At least, in the beginning.
If you want to know what sugar in urine implies during pregnancy and how to make it better, don't miss the following post.
Urine, a good indicator
Soon after getting pregnant, you'll realise how important urine tests are to check on your health and the future baby's. You'll get familiar with peeing into little plastic cups, as the doctor tests your urine at every antenatal visit. Urine tests are a classic part of such check-ups, since they are very useful markers for glucose and protein levels in your urine. Such markers can help prevent gestational diabetes, and also take action to avoid suffering from preeclampsia.
Testing positive for glucose in urine... and now what?
As said earlier, testing positive for glucose in urine is very common and, for a start, it's just a sign of high levels of sugar in your body. Actually, most doctors won't even get surprised or worry much about it, as long as it's a one-time issue and doesn't persist over time. Many pregnant women cross the line when it comes to keeping their tummies satisfied by craving high-sugar foods in excess, which can test positive for sugar in urine.
Apart from this, you have to know that hormonal changes in your body throughout pregnancy, especially from the second trimester on, can trigger having glucose in urine as well. The reason? In the process of providing your growing foetus with glucose, your body stores sugar that isn't needed right away, for energy. When sugar is finally absorbed by both you and your future baby, the 'leftovers' are disposed through urine... and here you have your positive!
When things get ugly
If tests reveal large amounts of sugar, you may be asked to take the glucose tolerance test, often carried out between 24 weeks pregnant to 28 weeks pregnant, a little bit earlier (around week 16 to week 18). Your doctor or midwife could also come up with that possibility in case you are at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes. Basically, you'll be taken a blood sample while having an empty stomach and another one after drinking a sugary solution, which will be compared to the previous one.
In case you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you'll have to be monitored by your doctor on the lookout for any complications. The most common one is your baby growing large, which can make labour a lot harder.
What can I do to make it better?
Though glucose in urine during pregnancy is usual, that doesn't mean you should ignore it. Even an isolated positive should be enough for you to change some aspects of your diet, trying to make it healthier. Why don't you try to:
- Watch our for carbohydrates: cut back on both simple and refined carbohydrates, because they get into your bloodstream really fast and can leave extra sugar in your system. Muffins and sugary cereal are good examples.
- Choose unrefined carbohydrates: instead, you should introduce more complex carbs into your menu, such as whole fresh fruits and whole grain bread and cereal. Among their benefits, it's convenient to highlight that they are absorbed more slowly, thus preventing excessive glucose.
Besides doing your best out of carbohydrates, don't forget that you'll need to keep your pregnancy cravings under control. Instead of making easy choices, like eating cake or ice cream, try to be creative when you have a ravenous appetite. For example, instead of having a pizza, make a whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat mozzarella and tomato sauce.
Finally, glucose in urine should be faced neither with drama nor with apathy. This sign alone doesn't pose any risks for you and your baby, but not taking care of it properly can lead to gestational diabetes, which can be pretty serious.