Leukocytes In Urine During Pregnancy: Causes And Treatment

During pregnancy, your OB/GYN will order urine investigations rather frequently, at practically each prenatal appointment. It helps detect the presence of any abnormality and the doctor can start the appropriate treatment immediately. Occasionally, the urine may contain leukocytes or WBCs.

The presence of leukocytes in the urine is not normal. Usually, it is seen in women who complain of itching and burning during urination.

The precise cause needs to be investigated and the most suitable treatment needs to be started promptly, to ward off complications.

Causes Of Leukocytes In Urine During Pregnancy

The commonly seen causes for the appearance of leukocytes in the blood are:

  • Urinary tract infection: A urinary tract infection causes leukocytes to appear in the urine. This is very common during pregnancy. You tend to have an increased bladder volume with a reduced bladder tone because of the weight of the baby. It is rather difficult to completely empty the bladder, and this causes the bacteria to multiply.
  • Kidney infection: Urinary tract infection must be treated promptly without any delay.
    If you have urinary tract infection, and it is left untreated, kidney infection develops. Pyelonephritis or kidney infection makes leukocytes appear in the urine. There will also be pain in the lower back, nausea and vomiting and fever. Pyelonephritis needs to be managed immediately in order to prevent preterm labor and premature rupture of the membranes.
  • Asymptomatic bacteriuria: It is sometimes possible that a pregnant woman may have bacteria multiplying in the urinary tract and show no symptoms at all. This is known to afflict 3 – 10 % of pregnant women. Bacteria present in the urinary tract cause leukocytes to manifests in the urine, and can also lead to pyelonephritis if left untreated. For this reason all doctors routinely test the urine of all pregnant women.
  • Leukocytes may appear in the urine during pregnancy if the vaginal secretions and the urine get mixed up at the time that the sample was collected. During pregnancy, the vaginal secretions increase to keep the vaginal environment clean and free from bacteria. Hence, pregnant women need to cleanse the area with a wipe, from the front to the back, and also do not touch the cup to the vagina whilst collecting the sample, to avoid a blending of the urine with the vaginal secretions.

Treatment For Leukocytes In Urine

When WBCs manifest in the urine your doctor will ask you to carry out few other tests and investigations to understand the specific cause for their appearance in the urine. Once the cause has been established, he will start the treatment regimen.

  • Antibiotics need to be taken to deal with urinary tract infections. Also, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids and water and keep your system flushed. Follow up investigations are important as well.
  • In case of pyelonephritis, your doctor will prescribe a stronger dose of antibiotics to tackle the situation successfully. Pyelonephritis needs to be treated without delay in order to avert preterm labor and premature rupture of the membranes.
  • Maintaining strict levels of hygiene is most crucial. Always cleanse the area with a hygienic wipe, from front to back.