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What is Proteinuria During Pregnancy?

What is Proteinuria During Pregnancy?

Urine test constitutes to be a major part of parental visit where your doctors checks for any kind of infection or if any difficult situation is arising. Excessive amount of protein in urine or proteinuria needs to be determined while you are pregnant to confirm the normal functioning of your kidneys. Even though some amount of protein in your urine while you are pregnant is normal, dysfunction of the kidneys due to a large amount of protein in your urine or proteinuria may suggest some kind of infection, stress and other complicated condition.

The basic function of the kidneys is to filter out all the waste products from blood and hold on any kind of nutrients. Amongst the nutrients that kidneys help the body to retain, protein is an important element. Due to some condition which is severe, the kidneys fail to function properly and a leak occurs through which the protein pass into the urine. The above situation can occur during pregnancy.

What is Proteinuria During Pregnancy?

What Causes Proteinuria During Pregnancy?

Preeclampsia is a situation where the human body losses protein through urine due to hypertension. Hypertension along proteinuria can kick in your system when you are about 20 weeks pregnant. The usual symptoms are headache, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, swelling of body parts like face and hands, decrease in the amount of daily urination and blurring of vision. Another situation which causes proteinuria during pregnancy is eclampsia. This condition occurs when the body enters into a state of seizure along with the condition of preeclampsia. This condition is highly severe. It can occur just before delivery and soon after delivery. Such a condition requires immediate medical attention.

HELLP syndrome is a condition which indicates a severe stage of preeclampsia. Even though the initial symptoms are preeclampsia is similar to HELLP, this syndrome can lead to complications such as pulmonary edema, kidney damage, disseminated intravascular coagulation and placental abruption. While you are pregnant, your condition of preeclampsia increases your chance to suffer from eclampsia or HELLP. These conditions can deliver adverse results like premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, and restriction of intrauterine growth and even death of a newborn. Kidney infections, exposure to high temperature, dehydration, excessive emotional stress, fever, strenuous exercises, arthritis, diabetes, leukemia can also lead to excessive loss of protein along with urine.

Kinds of Proteinuria During Pregnancy

There are two main kinds of proteinuria that can occur during pregnancy:

Chronic Proteinuria: This condition occurs when you are already suffering from proteinuria prior to your stage of pregnancy even though you have failed to diagnose it then. Chronic proteinuria can be identified and taken care of before 20 weeks of pregnancy. If you already had a pre-existing kidney disease of a history of kidney problems then you may be prone to suffer from chronic proteinuria.

Onset Proteinuria: Due to the condition of preeclampsia most likely, onset proteinuria comes up during pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms of Proteinuria During Pregnancy?

The usual signs that a person while pregnant is suffering from proteinuria are:

  • Swollen face.
  • Swollen feet and hands.
  • Foamy urine.

From the stage of mid-pregnancy to near the stage of delivery, there are signs of proteinuria like:

Signs of preeclampsia like a feeling of weakness and illness,

  • Blurry vision.
  • Swelling of body parts like feet hands and face.
  • Constant headache.
  • Excruciating pain below the region for the ribs.
  • Persistent chest pain.

These symptoms can kick in from the 27th week of pregnancy and can even appear soon after delivery. All the above signs require medical attention. Proteinuria itself is not a disease therefore the treatment lies in finding out the condition and eradicating it.


  1. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(19)31152-7/fulltext
  2. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth: https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-019-2350-5
  3. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745
  4. American Pregnancy Association: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/proteinuria/
  5. UpToDate: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/preeclampsia-beyond-the-basics

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 4, 2023

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