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What Is the Treatment for Proteinuria in Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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The only treatment for proteinuria in pregnancy is to deliver the baby. There are ways to manage the symptoms of this condition until giving birth. Proteinuria is the term used for an excess buildup of protein in the urine. This condition typically resolves on it's own after delivery.

When proteinuria develops during pregnancy, it is typically a symptom of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia develops late in the second trimester or in the third trimester of pregnancy. In addition to protein in the urine, women with preeclampsia also develop high blood pressure.

To manage proteinuria in pregnancy, spend as much time as possible in bed, lying on the left side. Monitoring salt intake and drinking extra water will also help the body control protein levels. Individuals suffering from proteinuria in pregnancy will require frequent doctor's visits, as this condition creates a high risk pregnancy.

If it becomes necessary to enter the hospital because of rising levels of protein in the urine, the woman may receive medication to control seizures, as well as steroid injections to encourage her baby's lungs to develop quickly. This reduces the risk of health issues in the baby if he is born premature.

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The symptoms of proteinuria in pregnancy include frothy urine and swelling of the extremities or face. It is possible to have elevated levels of protein in the urine without exhibiting any symptoms at all. If the proteinuria is part of preeclampsia, other symptoms may develop, including headaches and nausea. Complications from preeclampsia include premature separation of the placenta from the uterus, stroke, and, rarely, death.

Protein in the urine causes problems because it is protein that has been filtered by the kidneys from the blood. The symptoms of proteinuria are actually due to low levels of important proteins in the plasma portion of the blood. When someone develops proteinuria, the kidneys do not hold onto the proteins in the plasma properly, and it passes out of the body as waste. This shows up as elevated protein levels in the urine.

Early prenatal care is the most effective way to diagnose proteinuria in pregnancy. At each visit, a urine dipstick test is administered, which will alert the doctor to elevated levels of protein in the urine. Individuals who are over 35, obese, expecting multiples, or have a history of kidney disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes are at an increased risk of developing preeclampsia and the accompanying proteinuria. A healthy diet and early prenatal care may reduce the risk of developing this condition.

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