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Common Blood Tests During Pregnancy

by
author image Laura Candelaria
Laura Candelaria is a family nurse practitioner and assistant professor of nursing and nutritional science. Her experience includes neonatal and pediatric intensive-care, women's oncology, gynecology, obstetrics, lactation, nutrition and infertility. She has been published in "Nursing Spectrum," "Newsday" and on various websites.
Common Blood Tests During Pregnancy
A pregnant woman listening to her doctor. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

During pregnancy, you will undergo many different exams and tests to monitor the health of you and your baby. It is important to remain compliant with prenatal care. Your obstetrician will discuss your routine blood tests at your first prenatal visit. Some blood tests may be done at your physician's office, while others may need to be performed at a lab.

Blood Type and Rh Factor

Blood type testing will determine your body's blood type, which will be either A, B, AB or O. Blood type and Rh factor testing is usually done during the first trimester. The Rh factor test determines whether you have the Rh antigen in your blood. If you do not have the Rh antigen in your blood, you are Rh negative, if you do have it, then you are Rh positive, states the American Pregnancy Association. This common test is important because if your blood type does not have the Rh factor but your baby's does (Rh incompatibility), you will need a shot of medication, called Rhogam, during your pregnancy and after delivery. It is also important to know your blood type in the event that you need a blood transfusion during your pregnancy or following the delivery of your baby.

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CBC

Your physician will advise you to have a CBC (complete blood count) test in early pregnancy. This test will monitor your hemoglobin and hematocrit, which will determine if you have anemia. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if low levels are found, you may be given iron supplements to increase them. The CBC will also determine the levels of three major types of cells in blood--white cells, red cells and platelets--which may help diagnose infection and other types of illness. It is important to know your platelet count, because it determines how quickly your blood will clot. During delivery, a woman with a low platelet count may be at risk for hemorrhage.

Glucose

A blood glucose test will diagnose gestational diabetes. This test is usually done toward the end of the second trimester. You will be asked to drink a sugary drink and have your blood tested one hour later. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman's pancreas can't keep up with the insulin demand during pregnancy and her blood glucose levels get too high, reports BabyCenter. Most women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes do not remain diabetic following birth but will be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

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