Urine culture in pregnancy: when and what it is used for

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Urine culture in pregnancy

Urinalysis is carried out regularly, every month, during pregnancy and provides information on the state of health of the woman, such as, for example, it allows to detect urinary infections or to highlight pathologies such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, important complications of pregnancy. But when theurine culture in pregnancy and what is this specific exam for?

In this article

  • What is urine culture for?
  • When is urine culture done during pregnancy?
  • Results of urine culture
  • Urinary tract infections: what are they?

What is urine culture for?

This test looks for the urine in the urine presence of bacteria which may indicate the presence of a urinary tract infection. These are infections that can sometimes be asymptomatic but must never be ignored and must always be treated in the right way, with antibiotics and other therapies.

Therefore, not only the possible presence of bacteria will be analyzed, but also their size, shape and color which indicate what type they can be and how they grow.

When is urine culture done during pregnancy?

It is done periodically to diagnose any asymptomatic bacteriuria and should be done in case of symptoms that can lead to suspicion of a urinary tract infection (for example cystitis) such as:

  • frequent and painful urination,
  • burning,
  • urge to urinate,
  • possible fever.

It is also performed where theroutine urine test in pregnancy has identified the presence of bacteria, leukocytes and / or red blood cells that may indicate an infection.

What kind of sample is required?

A few milliliters of early morning urine are required, collected in a sterile container, possibly vacuum-packed, and delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible.

Read also: Frequent urination in pregnancy

Results of urine culture

Il urine sample you will be tested for bacteria that may indicate a urinary tract infection. The culture shows any bacteria and isolates them, while a sensitivity test shows which antibiotics can effectively treat the infection.

If left untreated during pregnancy, even a painless, asymptomatic urinary tract infection can develop into a more serious infection, so screening is done in early pregnancy to detect and treat a urinary tract infection early.

Usually the results of a urine culture are ready in approx 48 hours.

  • If there are no harmful bacteria, the culture result will be "negative".
  • If there are bad bacteria proliferating then the result will be "positive".

The bacterium that can most commonly cause a urinary tract infection is E-coli, a bacterium that lives in the gut.

Urinary tract infections: what are they?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) involves part of the urinary system, which includes:

  • Reni
  • Ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder)
  • Bladder
  • Urethra (a short tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body).

These infections can be common, but they are more frequent in pregnant women and should not be underestimated because they can lead to some serious complications. Such as premature birth and low birth weight.

I symptoms of a urinary tract infection I'm:

  • Urgent and frequent urination;
  • burning when urinating;
  • cramps and pain in the lower part of the belly;
  • feeling of heaviness in the bladder;
  • dark, cloudy urine;
  • red blood cells in the urine.

In pregnancy, however, these infections are often asymptomatic and that is why in case of anomalies that emerge during the monthly urinalysis or even mild symptoms it is necessary to do a urine culture.


  • Pubmed
  • ACOG

  • cystitis in pregnancy
  • urine tests
  • urinary tract infection in pregnancy
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