Sugar in urine samples

When you're pregnant, you regularly have your urine sample tested for the presence of sugar. What does it mean?

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From the urine sample you give your doctor to confirm you’re pregnant, to the weekly samples you give at your ante-natal check-ups just before the birth, every mum-to-be gets plenty of practice at weeing into a test-tube! But what does it mean and why is it so important?

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Sugar in urine
Testing your urine every time you go for a check-up is a quick and efficient way of keeping tabs on your health.
Your doctor or midwife can quickly see if the urine sample contains too much sugar.
Insulin keeps your body’s blood sugar levels in check. During pregnancy, whilst the insulin does its job, you produce extra sugar to ensure that some nutrition reaches the fetus as well as you. However, sometimes your system gets carried away and you end up with an excess of sugar in your blood and your urine.

Should I be worried about sugar in my urine?
As your body is working hard and making so many changes, it is quite possible to have the odd ‘sugar in urine’ result on a check-up. 
If your GP or midwife have any other causes for concern, they might ask you to come back for another urine sample test more quickly than your scheduled check-up (as these don’t become weekly until quite late in pregnancy).
If your pregnancy and health are otherwise fine, they will probably simply mention it in your notes and look for a clear result next time. As your body is most likely just adjusting itself, you shouldn’t worry about it in the meantime.
If you get a sugar in urine result with your next test your doctor might send you for a GTT (glucose tolerance test) where your blood is monitored over a set period to see how your body copes with sugar. Even if you get sent for this test you might well be fine.

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Gestational diabetes
If you are not usually diabetic but you have a continued problem with sugar levels during your pregnancy, you are said to have ‘gestational diabetes’. This is not regular diabetes and will pass after the birth, in about 98 per cent of cases.
So long as your doctors are aware of it, it is easily treated and you will be monitored to ensure you and your baby are safe. 

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