Ketones in Urine during Pregnancy - General Info
Temporary presence of ketones in urine during pregnancy is not considered a serious health concern. This is not a high risk pregnancy complication. Still, prolonged presence of ketones in urine during pregnancy must be taken seriously and the doctor is due to identify the underlying illness or a cause of the condition.
Ketones are normally obtained form fat breakdown and are used as a source of energy only in case of starvation and glucose deficiency when there is no sufficient glucose to provide with desirable amount of energy. This drives to conclusion that the presence of ketones in the urine only occurs if the energy in the body is obtained from fat.
During pregnancy it may happen that the placental hormones cause resistance to insulin which consequently leads to inappropriate entrance of the glucose in the cells. Even though there is plenty of glucose in the blood the body cells simply cannot use it. This is why the cells start to obtain desirable energy from fat tissue. Excessive breakdown of fat leads to excessive production of ketones which eventually results in high level of these substances in the urine. Apart from the influence of placental hormones there are several more causes of ketones in urine during pregnancy.
Causes of Ketones in Urine during Pregnancy
Many factors and certain illnesses may contribute to the occurrence of ketones in urine during pregnancy. For example, this typically occurs if the woman does not get enough calories from the food she eats. Transitory presence of ketones in urine may also occur if there are long intervals between meals and if the woman tends to skip meals and snacks. Nausea, vomiting, and poor eating habits are additional cause of ketones in urine. Apart from the previously mentioned ketones in urine during pregnancy may also point to the presence of gestational diabetes.
Diagnosis and Prevention of Ketones in Urine during Pregnancy
The level of ketones is measured in the urine sample. Optimal results are achieved by taking the first morning urine sample.
Preventive measures against ketones in urine during pregnancy include avoiding skipping meals and having long gaps between meals. Proper and adequate diet is also essential and pregnant women are advised to have frequent small meals rich in proteins and starch.
In case that dietary changes do not help and ketones remain high the woman must undergo additional tests so that the exact cause can be identified and treated properly. This particularly refers to gestational diabetes.