What Are the Causes of Leukocytes in the Urine in Pregnancy?






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1. What Are Leukocytes?

One thing that definitely becomes a “rite of passage” during pregnancy is lots and lots of tests. Urine testing especially, is extremely common during pregnancy.Urine-test-is-extremely-common-during-pregnancy

Usually, doctors will take a urine sample at each appointment and test it for various things. One common issue that arise during pregnancy is the presence of leukocytes in the urine. Leukocytes are more commonly known as white blood cells.


These leukocytes are normally a sign of inflammation and there are several reasons that they might be found in the urine of pregnant women. Read on for more info.

2. Asymptomatic Bacteriuria

This condition is a little rarer and a little harder to explain than some of the other causes of white blood cells in the urine. When a woman has leukocyte bacteria in her urine without any real known cause, it is known as Asymptomatic Bacteriuria.


If left untreated, these bacteria can develop into a kidney infection. This is the reason that many doctor’s offices do urine testing, because Asymptomatic Bacteriuria have no symptoms and most women have no idea when this is happening to them.

3. UTI

One of the most common reasons for leukocytes in the urine is the presence of a urinary tract infection. Many women who are suffering from a UTI don’t even realize it.


Due to the weight of the baby and the decreased muscle tone of the bladder during pregnancy, these are very common. These factors make it hard for pregnant women to empty their bladder completely, and bacteria can begin to grow, causing a urinary tract infection.

4. Kidney Infection

When a woman has a UTI and doesn’t receive treatment for it, it can turn into a kidney infection. A kidney infection is also known as pyelonephritis, and when it is left untreated, it can be really dangerous.


Symptoms of a kidney infection can include nausea, vomiting and side and back pain. If left untreated, a kidney infection can lead to premature labor or premature rupture of the membranes (water breaking). Pyelonephritis is the leading cause of hospital admission in pregnant women.

5. Other Reasons

There are sometimes a few other reasons that leukocytes can develop in the urine of pregnant women. Sometimes, if vaginal secretions become mixed with urine at the time of collection, it can cause leukocytes to show up in the test.


This is why it is very important that pregnant women make sure to cleanse with the provided wipes before giving a urine sample. Don’t worry too much about leukocytes in your urine. Your doctor will be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is and can give you something to help you feel better very soon.

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Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.