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ketones in urine - can anyone explain the significance please?

(25 Posts)
olivo Sat 25-Jul-09 18:16:57

i went for my 35 wk check - am on weekly checks due to GD and polyhaydramnios - on thurs. there were ketones in my urine - what does that mean exactly?

becksydee Sat 25-Jul-09 18:34:55

i had ketones in my urine when i went for my checkup (34wks) on monday - they wouldn't let me leave until it had been investigated so sounds like you got off lightly!

it basically means that your body has stopped burning glucose as fuel and is burning fat & protein instead (ketosis) - in extreme cases it can mean you're suffering from ketoacidosis which is quite serious (& is the condition that the midwife/consultant would be worried about if they found ketones). it's diagnosed by testing blood gases & treated with IV fluids (due to dehydration) and insulin. if you had it, you would probably be feeling really rather ill (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain etc) and would also probably have smelly breath.

notevenamousie Sat 25-Jul-09 18:36:40

EITHER that you've not been eating enough or you've not been drinking enough. Possibly both.

TheProvincialLady Sat 25-Jul-09 18:37:51

I believe that too much (or too many?) ketones in the body can poison the foetus.

lou031205 Sat 25-Jul-09 18:40:33

Don't panic - you can get small amounts of ketones in your urine just by skipping breakfast, for example. It is only a concern if there are a significant/persistent level.

olivo Sat 25-Jul-09 18:43:28

oh hell, they didnt tell me it could be serious - in fact, they asked about my eating but i couldnt remember whether i had done my sample before or after eating. my blood sugars were all over the place that day however; i test before and after one meal a day at the moment. presumably, they would have said/done something if they thought it was serious? they took some more bloods and were going to check glucose as part of that.

olivo Sat 25-Jul-09 18:44:34

ok, so if i had done my sample before lunch (my blood glucose was only 4.1 before lunch) then it could have been because i needed food?

ZippysMum Sat 25-Jul-09 19:01:40

I had ketones at a urine test at 24 weeks and they weren't worried about it at all. Agree with mousie that it could just have been too long since breakfast. Just means your body is burning fats.
I think if your doc isn't worried then don't be, in this case!wink

olivo Sat 25-Jul-09 19:06:54

thanks everyone. it seems to have been one thing after another with this pg and i am still bad at asking questions when i'm at the hospital!
will make sure i keep my eating and drinking more regular.

notevenamousie Sat 25-Jul-09 19:10:15

Sounds a good plan olivo
Let them tell you when to worry, it is why they are paid all that money.

TheProvincialLady Sat 25-Jul-09 19:29:10

Absolutely, notevenamousie.

The reason they test for this stuff is to get an early warning, not because a small amount of the stuff is dangerous.

Littlefish Sat 25-Jul-09 19:40:26

I was told to eat more! I asked the midwife if she would write it on a piece of paper so I could frame it and hang it on my wall. I'm overweight so it was the only time I've ever been told to eat more grin.

beautifulgirls Sat 25-Jul-09 20:36:11

Ketones can be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes, though they would know this pretty quickly with checking your blood sugar levels too. Otherwise it is down to your body being in a negative energy balance ie burning off more energy than you have taken in with eating. I had ketones when I had a tummy bug while pregnant with DD#2 and couldn't eat for 24hrs. They took me into hospital to keep an eye on me given I was overall unwell, but 24hr later and some iv fluids although I still had ketones I was a lot better and they sorted out over the next 2-3 days when I was eating more. I was just told to ensure I had plenty of fluids.

becksydee Sat 25-Jul-09 21:12:15

sorry olivo, hope i didn't worry you. if they were concerned, you would have had a phone call by now calling you back in for further tests or treatment. i agree with everyone else, just make sure you're eating and drinking regularly and you'll be fine

olivo Sat 25-Jul-09 21:33:41

no becksy, not a problem smile It is interesting to hear what others know, particularly from their own experience.

they have rung me every other time to tell me there are problems so i'll go with no news is good news for now! smile

thoughtforms Sat 25-Jul-09 21:47:03

If they didn't seem too worried, it might only be a trace they found - I've had the same, but further urine tests have been fine, and the diabetes clinic put it down to lack of food and drink.

Incidentally, since being on metformin, I've not even put on a stone from my pre-pregnancy weight, so if you're on any kind of medication like this, it may well be you're having the same as me.

Of course, I read the internet and freaked out - but then figured, if something was really badly wrong, then they would have been a little more concerned - so I wouldn't worry too much.

Funnily enough, now I've finished work, every single one of my readings is much lower. I just wonder how much stress is to do with higher readings... I know I'm taking much better care of myself now, and having better spaced out meals, rather than working around my work hours. Not sure how long you've got until you finish, but you may find that things suddenly calm down?

The main thing is, you're being closely monitored - try not to get too stressed out - and good luck.

olivo Sun 26-Jul-09 08:52:35

thanks thoughtforms. i have been finished for a week, and actually, my eating is more erratic now - as a teacher, i had to have my breaks when they were; now, with dd to run around after, i sometimes forget to snack. interesting about the stress thing though, it seems to impact on everything!

only 4 weeks to go......hopefully!

becksydee Mon 27-Jul-09 17:04:37

think you might be onto something there about stress, thoughtforms - my worst ever reading was the one i took whilst waiting for my 34w check up when i knew i was going to have to argue with the midwife about my birth plan, i was incredibly stressed that day! took a few days off work after that and the difference in my blood sugar readings was huge.

thoughtforms Mon 27-Jul-09 19:09:24

It's really bizarre - last week I was averaging 6.6 after breakfast, and 6.0 after lunch, but this week it's gone right down to 4.8 and 5.1! I'm eating exactly the same food, just not rushing around or commuting to work, or putting up with the stress of being there!

olivo Mon 27-Jul-09 20:12:54

thoughtforms, that is something i just haven't been able to get my head around - if you start off with the same number, eat the same meal and then test again, how does the post prandial reading vary so widely?
i thinkl mine might be hogher now not at work as i am not as active at home; well, not at the moment!

becksydee Mon 27-Jul-09 20:29:22

olivo - activity levels do make a difference, my readings are definitely lower on the days when i do more walking or go out to the supermarket or whatever. going to do a bit of bouncing on my gym ball now whilst i wait for the 1hr timer to go off after dinner

babyball Mon 27-Jul-09 22:57:31

I had this at 34 weeks. Was told by my midwife that I needed to eat and drink more. This was during that extremely sunny and hot period recently where my hands and feet also swelled up. I stepped up my fluid intake and made sure I ate regularly. I think it was to do with the heat and not having the energy to digest food. The last two times my urine has been tested it has been absolutely fine however so hope this is reassuring! I am also now off work and feeling a lot less stressed. I have time to look after myself properly rather than worrying about working full-time whilst sleep-deprived.

thoughtforms Tue 28-Jul-09 10:59:18

olivo - I know, it's odd. I can't work it out, but I did ask if stress levels can make a difference - last week I was ridiculously stressed, hoping that all the people covering my job while I'm off knew what they were doing - now I've just let it all go.

I was fairly active on Friday and Saturday, but overall since I've not really done a huge amount than just potter around the house really!

elj193 Tue 04-Aug-09 15:34:29

Ketones in the urine are down to poor blood glucose control, you said that your blood sugars had been all over the place so that is why ketones were found in your urine. Basically if Diabetes is not controlled your body cannot use the glucose in your blood, and so starts to metabolise the fats and proteins to use for energy instead. The by product of the fat and protein breakdown is Ketones, which then pass into urine. The major danger with GD is that as the sugar in your blood is not being used by you, the baby gets far more than it needs and so can grow to be very large. The only way to prevent this is to control your blood sugar, I hope this helps!

stiwix Fri 22-Apr-16 22:31:20

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