During pregnancy one of the first things you need to get used to is the regular need to carry out a pregnancy blood test. These tests allow the medical team in charge of your well-being during pregnancy to monitor the baby and ensure that there are as few surprises around the birth as possible. In some instances, the blood tests can stop the baby from being born with a preventable condition.
The first pregnancy blood test that you will receive will be the one to determine whether or not you are indeed pregnant. Once the pregnancy has been confirmed your first official pre-natal visit will include a number of blood tests. This isn’t as bad as it first seems however, as usually many of these tests are taken from the same vial of blood, and so there’s only one needle.
This pregnancy blood test list includes tests to ascertain the following information:
Your blood type and whether or not you are Rhesus-negative. If you are, and the baby is Rh-positive, then you will need special care as this can have an impact on your health and the health of any subsequent pregnancies. This situation is controlled by a simple injection at least once during this pregnancy, and then once after the baby is born.
Checking your immunity levels against German measles (Rubella) and in some instances, chicken pox requires another pregnancy blood test. Both of these are mainly children’s illnesses but they can seriously affect your unborn child as the virus can cross the placenta. If you are not immune to either or both of these you will need to take extra care when around children who may either have, or be carriers of, the virus.
Screening your blood for more serious conditions such as hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis is also necessary. Most women are not particular happy about this kind of pregnancy blood test as they don’t feel that they have done anything to warrant needing the tests. However, the implications for the baby are serious should the woman have them and so the tests are given as routine to all pregnant women early in pregnancy.
Following these initial blood tests, you will regularly receive a pregnancy blood test to check your iron and sugar levels. You may also be offered other tests to check for the possibility of your baby being born with a condition such as spina bifida, or Down’s syndrome, but this won’t be until the second trimester.