If you're expecting a baby, you may need to go to a lot of doctor's appointments. These appointments may include blood tests. You may wonder why you need a blood test when you're pregnant. This blog dives into that.
Understanding the Importance of Blood Tests
First, it's good to know that blood tests are a common and essential part of prenatal care. They're designed to keep both you and your baby healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Checking Your Overall Health
During the first prenatal visit, you'll likely have a blood test. It's done to get a clear picture of your overall health. The test checks for things like your blood type, Rh factor, and anemia. It's also used to screen for immunity to diseases like chickenpox and rubella, which could harm the baby if you're not immune and contract them during pregnancy.
Screening for Genetic Conditions
Blood tests can also screen for certain genetic conditions. These include Down syndrome and spina bifida. You'd usually get these tests in your first or second trimester. Knowing about any potential genetic conditions early on can help your healthcare provider plan for a safe delivery and prepare for care after birth.
Certain infections can pose risks to both you and your baby during pregnancy. Blood tests can detect infections like HIV, hepatitis B, and syphilis. If you're positive for any of these, your healthcare provider can take steps to protect your baby.
Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels
If you're at risk for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that only happens during pregnancy, you'll get a blood sugar test between certain stages of your pregnancy. If your blood sugar levels are too alarming or high, your healthcare provider will work with you to manage them and prevent complications.
Checking Your Baby's Health
In the third trimester, you might get a blood test to check your baby's health. For example, if your blood type is Rh negative and your baby's is Rh positive, your body could develop antibodies against your baby's blood. A blood test can detect these antibodies and allow your healthcare provider to treat you and protect your baby.
Confirming Your Due Date
Sometimes, a blood test can even help confirm your due date. By measuring the amounts of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) you have in your body, your healthcare provider can estimate how far along you are.
Blood tests during pregnancy might seem like a bit of a hassle, but they're incredibly important for keeping both you and your baby healthy. They give your healthcare provider valuable information that can help ensure you have a safe and healthy pregnancy. So, next time you roll up your sleeve for that needle, know that you're doing a great thing for both you and your little one.
For more information on blood tests during pregnancy, contact a professional near you.