Routine blood tests in pregnancy give the following information:
- Hemoglobin (Hb) and platelet level (Plt) (blood cells that carry oxygen and stop bleeding)
- Hb is required for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the whole body as well as the baby. Hb is the component that make blood appear red. Iron is required to make Hb. Iron supplementation helps treat a low Hb. Pre delivery Hb needs to be maintained > 10.5 in preparation for the bleeding after.
- Plt is a cellular component of blood that plugs holes in vessels and stops bleeding. This helps stops the bleeding after delivery. Plt level falls gradually in pregnancy but rarely to extreme levels. The lower limit of Plt in pregnancy is 100×106. 1% of women have a condition with extremely low Plt. Those with rapidly declining Plt require regular testing.
- Blood group and Rhesus typing
- Group: there are 4 blood groups: A,B,AB and O. Knowing the blood group is necessary in pregnancy as 1 in 500 deliveries will require blood transfusion for excessive bleeding. The blood test package includes a free blood group card. This should be carried at all times in case of any emergency.
- Rhesus (Rh) D: This is a subtype of red cells. Most of us are Rh-D Positive. Up to 5% are Rh negative. In some countries this can be as high as 15%. Moms with Rh Negative blood can sometimes have a reaction towards the Rh Positive blood of the baby they are carrying (depending on the blood type of the father). This potentially life threatening condition of the baby is preventable by knowing your status. Further testing is required if you are Rh Negative.
- Red cell antibodies
- 1% of moms carry rare antibodies against blood cells that may harm the baby’s. This is potentially life threatening for the baby.
- Knowing this help saves baby’s lives.
- Rarely in-utero blood transfusion is necessary lifesaving procedure. (transfusing blood to the baby in the womb)
- Indirect diabetes screening: HbA1c levels in the blood tell the tale of recent glucose control. The sugar drink test is only recommended if this is high.
- Thyroid screening: 1% of women have low or high thyroid hormone levels. Abnormal thyroid hormone levels has negative impacts on pregnancy. Aseana endorses its routine testing in pregnancy.
- Infection screen:
- Hepatitis B: This is one of the most common chronic viral infections. If a mom is positive the transmission to baby can be as high as 98%. Once diagnosed, preventive measures bring the transmission rate down to 1%.
- Syphilis: This is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. And it is treatable, preventing baby getting it as well. Syphilis infection in the baby usually targets the baby’s brain and nerves. It Is best avoided.
- HIV: This has no known cure. Treatment can lower the viral leves in the body and prolong life. Moms can transmit it to babies. Preventive measures bring the transmission down to as low as 1%.
Based on your risk profile – other tests may be advised to be added on to this panel.
This panel is the current standard as recommended in the US and EU.