Finding blood in your urine can cause great stress, especially for women who are pregnant. An abnormal level of red blood cells in the urine, hematuria or blood in urine during pregnancy affects around 10% of the general population and can be associated with several different problems with your health. Even though in many cases the cause is benign, it can indicate a serious condition as well which you have to pay attention to.
Blood in Urine During Pregnancy: What It Means
There are several reasons to find blood in urine during pregnancy, ranging from severe conditions such as bladder cancer to the one which are less important such as nonspecific inflammations of the kidney and viral infections. Below you will find a list of the commonly seen causes for blood in urine during pregnancy.
- Urinary tract infection.Chronic bladder infection or urine infection during pregnancy is one of the most seen causes of the blood in urine. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of this bacterial infection, so it is a common sight during pregnancy. As the uterus grows, its heavier weight can block drainage of urine from the bladder, thus causing an infection which will lead to the presence of mucus or blood in urine.
- Bladder and kidney stones. Blood in urine during pregnancy could also be caused by kidney stones which could make sever pain and bleeding when the stone passes through the urinary tract. Hardened mineral deposits in the kidney could also result in constant pain and ache in the abdomen, especially in the area of the kidneys, which is followed by nausea and vomiting. Plus, this deposit of minerals could add up in the bladder and make stones, causing bleeding and pain in urine.
- Kidney disorders. Damage to the upper urinary tract, or a kidney which is infected could also cause blood in urine.
- Kidney and bladder cancer. Blood in urine could also indicate kidney or bladder cancer. This is a more common concern if you are over 40 years of age.
In addition to these, blood in urine is found in pregnant women who are affected by medical conditions like sickle cell anemia, lupus or diabetes. In most cases, raise amounts of protein is found in the urine.
Blood in Urine During Pregnancy: Can It Affect Your Pregnancy?
Now that you know the causes of blood in urine during pregnancy, you may be concerned about the health of your baby. Can it be affected by this condition? The answer is yes. The blood in urine could cause other problems like early labor and/or a baby with a low birth weight. These problems many times indicate other symptoms and will make you feel sick. For example, a urine infection in pregnancy can cause:
- A feeling of burning when you urinate.
- Intense or frequent urges to urinate, even if only a tiny bit comes out when you go.
- Pressure or pain in your lower abdomen or back.
- Dark, cloudy, strange-smelling or bloody urine.
- Feeling shaky or tired.
- Chills or fever (this is an indication that the infection could have spreadto your kidneys).
Therefore, if you have experienced any of other problems along with blood in urine, speak with your doctor right away, so you can get examined and have a proper diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.
Blood in Urine During Pregnancy: Diagnosis and Treatment
Blood in urine during pregnancy which is not going away has to be diagnosed and treated as soon as you can get to your doctor. He or she might order one or more of the tests below:
- Urinalysis.Many tests of the urine could be performed to see if there are problems which can cause blood in urine, like kidney disease, infection and cancer. Finding white blood cells will indicate a UTI. RBCs which are clumped together or misshapen to form small tubes which called casts can be a signal of kidney disease. A lot of protein found in the urine, known as proteinuria, could also mean that there is disease of the kidney. The urine could also be tested to see if there are any cancer cells present.
- Blood test. This involves getting blood drawn at your doctor’s office and sending the sample out for analysis at a lab. A blood test can tell you if there is a high level of creatinine, which is a waste product of normal muscle breakdown and could indicate the presence of kidney disease.
- Biopsy. This is a procedure which involves taking a piece of tissue from the kidney for examination under a microscope. The biopsyis is performed by a doctor in a hospital with local anesthetic and light sedation. The doctor will use imaging techniques like a computerized tomography or CT scan or ultrasound to guide the biopsy needle into the kidney. The tissue of the kidney is then examined by a pathologist in a lab. This test will help to diagnose the kind of kidney disease.
- Cystoscopy. This is a procedure which uses a tube-like instrument to see inside the bladder and urethra. Cystoscopy could be used to find cancer cells in the bladder, especially if cancer cells are found during a urinalysis.
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP). This is an x-ray of the urinary tract. Contrast medium, a special dye, is injected into a vein in your arm, and travels through your body to the kidneys, making the urine visible on the x-ray. The contrast medium will also show if there are any blockages in the urinary tract. If a small mass is found with IVP, an additional test, like an ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT scan will be performed to study the mass further.
Once the cause is identified, your doctor can figure out the exact treatment that you need. For example, if your blood in urine during pregnancy has been caused by UTI, your doctor will usually prescribe a 3-7 day course of antibiotics that is safe for both you and the baby. Do not forget that the health of your baby depends on your well-being, so get help as soon as you can and take care.