Ketones In Urine During Pregnancy: Causes And Treatment

Pregnancy check-ups often involve having a routine urine test. Expect to have one on your first prenatal checkup—your doctor will inform you whether the tests are required in future.

A urine test can determine diabetes, infection, dehydration or pre-eclampsia by checking the quantities of sugar, ketones, proteins, and bacteria in the urine.


What If Ketone Shows Up In My Urine Tests?

If your urine test shows ketones in the urine, you may wonder whether you should worry about it. Though ketones in urine isn’t a serious issue, it could become a cause of concern if left unattended and untreated.

Ketones are produced when the body breaks down fats to produce energy instead of carbohydrates. This could happen when there is a deficiency of glucose in the body or if the mother is starving. This means that your fat reserves are getting used up.


Normally, our body gets the energy to carry out the biological activities from the food we eat. The food breaks down to blood sugar and glucose. Insulin allows the body to use this glucose from the energy giving foods that we eat.

It has been found that pregnancy hormones increase the resistance towards insulin, due to which the body is not able to consume enough glucose. Since there are insufficient amounts of glucose available to be consumed by the body, women who are carrying feel lethargic and fatigued during pregnancy.


When this happens, the body looks for other sources of energy and starts breaking down fats, leading to the production of ketones. These ketones then pass out as a waste product into the urine.

What ARe The Symptoms?

You may start experiencing symptoms like dry mouth, feeling thirsty, frequent urination. The symptoms could enhance to nausea, vomiting, fatigue, stomach ache and troubled breathing if left untreated.  Immediate medical attention is needed in such a case.


What Are Its Causes?

Dehydration and lack of nutrition could trigger such a process resulting in presence of ketones in urine. You may not be taking enough calories as is required to cater the needs of both you and your baby. Having long intervals between meals or skipping a meal could also cause it happen.

Women who suffer from gestational diabetes are often found to have high levels ketones along with glucose in their urine.
If you are throwing up too much in the first trimester, you may not be getting enough nutrition, which could again result in the same condition.
Such conditions could arise only if you are starving yourself or taking a bad diet.


Strangely, it is your own pregnancy hormones that play a big role in making the essential blood sugar unavailable for the body.

Normally, the amount of ketone excreted in a healthy human is through sweat, breathing, and urine. The levels present in urine are so less that they cannot be detected in tests.


Is Excess Ketone In Urine A Dangerous Sign

Ketones aren’t harmful unless they exceed certain levels in your blood.
Acetone is a type of ketone—a higher-than-normal level of acetone in the body could cause fatigue, weakness, nausea, fever, swelling and even stress related issues like depression.

Excess ketones in blood could also lead to poisoning. It could not only affect the mother but also harm the baby. Dehydration and metabolic imbalance are the extreme outcomes of ketone poisoning, which can create a risk of miscarriage if unattended.


How The Treatment is Carried Out

Your doctor will ask you to undergo other tests like blood and urine tests, ultrasound, and glucose tolerance tests. These tests will help determine the cause of the problem.
To decrease the levels of ketone in your body eat a nutritional diet and drink plenty of water and fluids. Foods that you should avoid include fried meat, sugary foods, greasy foods and citrus fruits.
Your doctor may prescribe certain sorbents, which will detoxify your body.

Remember that this isn’t a huge medical problem and can be curbed before it becomes dangerous to your or baby’s health.