Blood cells in pregnancy

Whether you are pregnant or not, finding  blood in your urine  is always a cause for concern. Often excessive.

But if you’re expecting a baby, sometimes it could be a symptom of something very important.

In fact, although usually the reasons for blood in the urine during pregnancy may be of minor importance, hematuria (the specific name of this condition) should always be brought to the attention of a doctor.

It is likely that further tests will be needed to rule out any serious conditions and any related to your pregnancy.

What does hematuria look like in pregnancy?

As you can well imagine, with hematuria the urine is tinged with pink, red and brown blood spots.

You may notice that your urine is darker than usual, has a strong odor, and is warm to the touch. This could indicate the existence of kidney problems, or a urinary tract infection, although the latter is not usually associated with hematuria.

Where does the blood in the urine come from?

There are many reasons why you may find blood in your urine, and they are usually related to organs such as the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys.

It is in fact in the latter that urine is produced, and if bleeding occurs in or around these organs, there will be blood in the urine.

How is hematuria diagnosed in pregnancy?

Sometimes the woman may be able to see blood in your urine with the naked eye, but this is not very common.

In fact, in most cases hematuria is diagnosed following a collection of a urine sample, and its identification in the blood with a microscope in the laboratory.

In some cases, such as in the diagnosis of urinary tract infections, a urine stick can also be used.

What determines hematuria in pregnancy?

There are many reasons why you may experience this symptom during pregnancy.

The first of these could be due to a bladder or urinary tract infection, which will also cause other symptoms such as hot/burning urine, problems or pain when urinating, fever and flu-like symptoms, abdominal pain, and blood if the problems are not treated or if the condition gets worse.

Frequent visits to the bathroom when you’re pregnant could be hiding an infection – combined with your body’s hormonal changes and surges – in your urinary tract.

Although some women may get an infection without experiencing any symptoms, it leads to changes in the urinary system, and the majority will experience very distressing symptoms.

If you are pregnant and think you have a urinary tract infection, you should see a doctor. You may need antibiotics to treat it.

If you don’t treat a urinary tract infection, it could then travel to the kidneys causing a kidney infection.

This is another reason why you may discover blood in your urine during pregnancy: if you’ve been experiencing cystitis-like pain, it’s definitely time to see your doctor.

In addition to the risks of kidney infections, leaving a bladder or urinary tract infection untreated during pregnancy could also cause a miscarriage.

Over time, chronic kidney infections can cause further problems, so if you suffer from persistent urinary tract infections, medical attention is important.

While being pregnant doesn’t (generally) make you more likely to get kidney stones, the stones are more difficult to treat at these times.

They present with symptoms similar to those of kidney and bladder infections, or with intense abdominal pain, discomfort and difficulty urinating, blood in the urine and more.

Genetics can play a large role in the development of kidney stones, but not drinking enough water will also increase the likelihood of having them.

You should also try to get enough calcium.

Although it is important to exercise during pregnancy, “extreme” exercise should be avoided as this too could lead to protein and blood in the urine.

There are also many genetic conditions that could increase your chances of getting proteinuria (protein in the urine), such as kidney disease and sickle cell disease.

Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines may also cause this problem, such as heparin, penicillin, and aspirin .

Will hematuria affect my pregnancy?

If you have a bladder or kidney infection and don’t treat it, the condition will have a negative impact on your pregnancy, as it could lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and even premature birth.

So, if you are pregnant, and if you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important that you see a doctor right away to treat the problem before it reaches a dangerous stage:

  • flu-like symptoms, chills, fever;
  • fatigue, intense tiredness;
  • dark, warm, brown, acrid-smelling, cloudy, blood-containing urine;
  • severe pain and feeling of pressure in the lower back and abdomen;
  • increased urge to urinate, difficulty urinating, small amount of urine passed, pain when urinating.

How to treat hematuria in pregnancy

Hematuria by itself is not a medical condition. However, when you find blood in your urine during pregnancy or at other times, this blood is a symptom of something else. This means that further investigations must be done in order to have the most complete diagnosis possible.

Self-diagnosis and do-it-yourself treatments are not a good solution, as it is very easy in this case to associate this blood with a wrong pathology.

If the cause is an infection, you may need antibiotics and other prescription medicines to keep the condition under control.

However, you should never ignore these symptoms, because (it bears repeating) blood in the urine during pregnancy could be a serious symptom and therefore should not be ignored.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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