Pregnency

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Blood Tests During Pregnancy

Routine Blood Tests During Pregnancy



Routine blood tests during pregnancy are done to test for:
  • Confirming pregnancy
  • Hemoglobin levels (content) – Hemoglobin is the red coloring matter of the blood (hemoglobin protein in your blood cells) that carries oxygen to all parts of your body including the baby. Hemoglobin levels during pregnancy tend to drop as low as 9.5gms/100ml due to dilutional effect.  This bounces back usually post pregnancy.  
You can increase your hemoglobin levels during pregnancy by following the below diet:
  1. By taking iron pills and folic acid.
  2. Red meat that is rich in iron content, but do not overdo it that it contains fat.
  3. Leafy vegetables (beetroot, palak, spinach, green peas, kidney beans/rajma, turnip, cabbage, broccoli, and black beans). Beetroot is the best natural remedy to boost your blood count, as it has the ability to regenerate iron and activate red blood cells that supplies fresh oxygen to the blood.
  4. Fruits – (raisings, apricots, apples, figs, prunes, grapes) improves the blood). Citrus fruits like oranges, amla, lime and grapefruit help gain iron content. 
  5. Dry fruits – All of them content some amount of iron, but the king of all is the almond. One ounces of almond a day gives 6% of iron.
  6. Cereals, wholegrain breads, pastas, oatmeal, and tofu have rich source of iron.
Complete Blood Count

CBC (complete blood count)  is a blood test to evaluate your overall health and detects a wide range of disorders including anemia, infections, and leukemia that includes
  1. WBC (white blood cells) that fights infection.
  2. Hemoglobin (oxygen carrying protein in red blood cells)
  3. Hematocrit.
  4. Platelets that help with blood clotting
Blood Group and Rh factor

Blood will be checked to see if it is Rhesus-negative or Rhesus-positive in case you need a blood transfusion in an emergency.

VDRL Tests for syphillis (STD, sexually transmitted disease)

Is a blood test that checks for the presence of any sexually transmitted disease. If a woman is found to have syphilis, she may give birth to a deformed baby. Both husband and wife are advised to check for it, if any one of them has the disease, they both need to receive the course of antibiotic injections to protect themselves and the baby.
 
HIV/ AIDS

A person who is tested positive for HIV has the high possibility of developing AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome), in which condition a person’s immunity to fight for infection falls drastically. If a pregnant woman has developed AIDS, she can pass the infection to her baby, it can be during pregnant or at the time of birth. If she has HIV infection already, pregnancy can increase the chance of developing AIDS. The infection can also be transmitted through breast milk.   
 
Hepatitis B Screening

Hepatitis is a name given for swelling of the liver. Hepatitis B is causes by virus, passed from person to person through body fluids blood, vaginal or semen fluids. If you have Hepatitis B during pregnancy, you may pass this to your baby that is the reason a routine blood test is offered to all pregnant women to detect for Hepatitis B.

Blood sugar tests at weeks 24 and 28

When there is a family history of diabetes or if you are overweight or if your baby is measured larger than expected, there is a possibility of developing gestational diabetes.  

Gestational diabetes disappears after delivery and the blood sugar levels will be checked after 24 hours of delivery or 6 weeks after delivery. If you have had gestational diabetes in your first pregnancy, your risk of it developing again is increased in your second pregnancy.

You may also develop diabetes as you get older (not just during pregnancy). It is advised to check for you sugar levels regularly, follow diet, and exercises.


Rubella Test

This is done for German measles. This is very infectious disease that lasts a few days. This is causes by a virus that causes fever accompanied by swollen glands and aching hands. The main sign is a rash which lasts anywhere from 12-24 hours and sometimes goes off unnoticed. If you catch rubella in the first three months of pregnancy, the doctor may advise you to terminate the pregnancy as this may cause blindness, deafness, congenital heart disease, or other abnormalities. Most of the people are immunized   by MMR vaccine in childhood. If you are not sure about it, a blood test for rubella will make it clear.

Toxoplasmosis

It is an infection present in birds and animals. It can be acquired from cat faeces, soil or raw meat. This is more in people living in warm and humid climates. The damage caused by this infection is great in mothers who acquired it in the first three months of pregnancy.

Triple Marker Test

This test may be recommended if there is a concern that the baby may not have developed normally. This is done around 14 to 16 weeks to check for Down syndrome (a chromosomal abnormality) along with some other risk associated with pregnancy.  This test is also called multiple marker test. This is a blood test examined by a computer program. The percentage of children who have Down syndrome is very less. This test is expensive and is not available in all nursing homes.

AFP (Blood Test for Alpha feto-protein)

The Alpha-Feto-Protein test is a specialized blood test that reveals any major defects in the baby. This is a screening test done on mother’s blood at around 14-16 weeks of pregnancy. The result of high levels make the doctor suspect for defects in the development of brain(neural tube defects) or spinal cord of the baby.   

This test can be done on mother’s blood (MSAFP or Maternal Serum AFP) around the 14th – 16th week of pregnancy. It is a screening test i.e. an abnormal result is found in certain conditions. High levels make the doctor suspect defects in the development of spinal cord (spina bifida) or brain (neural tube defects) in the baby. If the result shows the baby is abnormal, a repeat test should be done. If the repeated test also shows the same result, then may be further suggested for amniocentesis.


TORCH

TORCH is a comprehensive blood test that tests the blood for various infections like toxoplasma, rubella or german measles, syphilis, cytomegalo-virus, and hepatitis B or herpes. If the infection is found in the mother, then a treatment can be given to the baby in the weeks following birth.

Find below the other routine tests that are performed during pregnancy

ULTRASOUND SCANS

DFMC (Daily Foetal Movement Count)

NON STRESS TEST (NST)

TRIPLE MARKER TEST

AMNIOCENTESIS

CVS or Chorionic Villus Sampling