27 Feb 2023 | 6 min Read
Author | 675 Articles
Ketones are produced when your body uses its fat reserves instead of glucose to produce the necessary energy to function. High levels of ketones in your urine can cause a condition called ketonuria. It is most common in people suffering from diabetes, particularly type 1 diabetes mellitus. But is it normal to find ketones in urine during pregnancy? If yes, how does this condition affect your pregnancy and baby? Read on to find out.
Ketonuria is common among pregnant and breastfeeding women and is usually caused due to starvation, fasting, or vomiting over a long period of time. While ketones may appear in your urine in trace amounts throughout pregnancy, excess levels of this acid could indicate gestational diabetes. The risk for this is high in women who have previously shown indications of pre-diabetes or are showing symptoms of gestational diabetes.
The best way to understand this condition is by consulting your healthcare provider, who can interpret whether the level of ketones in your urine is normal, or indicate an adverse maternal condition, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
During pregnancy, ketones may develop in your urine due to the following reasons:
An abnormal range of ketones in your urine can cause adverse effects on your baby. A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine states that ketones can easily cross the placenta and affect the central nervous system in your baby. It can also cause growth abnormalities, distortion of internal organs, and reduced volume. Studies have also revealed that high levels of ketones in urine can result in a reduction in lateral brain ventricles and cerebral cortex volume in the fetus.
However, more research is needed to determine the exact influence of ketones on fetal development. Hence, ensure to get regular check-ups to maintain a stable ketone level in your urine throughout pregnancy and prevent health conditions in your baby.
As high levels of ketones in your urine might indicate an underlying health condition, your doctor may recommend certain tests for clinical diagnosis if they notice the following symptoms.
If any of these symptoms are detected, your doctor will recommend a routine urine examination in each trimester to look for sugar, proteins, and ketones. These tests will help your doctor detect whether you have an already existing condition of ketonuria or gestational diabetes. If your doctor confirms gestational diabetes, then they will recommend lifestyle and diet changes to help maintain your blood glucose levels throughout pregnancy.
You can also test for ketones in your urine at home using a specialised testing kit. First, take your urine sample in a clean container, and then dip the strip given in the test packet, and dip into the sample. Take it out, and let the strip rest for a few minutes. You will also receive a colour chart with the test kit, so after the strip pad changes colour, use the chart to detect whether the ketone levels in your urine are low, moderate, or high.
Based on the results of your diagnostic tests, your healthcare provider might prescribe the following treatment options.
If you have traces of ketones in your urine due to changes in your diet or prolonged vomiting, as an effect of morning sickness, then you may not need any medical intervention, as this condition resolve on its own.
We have listed a few simple steps that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to maintain the level of ketones in your urine during pregnancy.
While it is normal to have minute levels of ketones in urine during pregnancy, high levels of the acid can indicate underlying health conditions like gestational diabetes. Ketones in trace amounts can be corrected through lifestyle and dietary changes, but higher levels of ketone in your urine may necessitate prompt medical assistance. Avoid skipping your meals, include carbohydrate and protein-rich foods in your diet, stay active, and exercise regularly to keep the ketone levels in your urine maintained.
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