Richmond Practice - Pregnancy blood tests

Pregnancy blood tests

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Why do I need blood testing in pregnancy?

Blood tests are a routine part of your antenatal care. At your first antenatal check you will be offered a range of blood tests that are designed to make your pregnancy safer. Some blood testing in pregnancy is given to all pregnant women. Others are based on specific risk factors, family or ethnic background or other test results.

Pregnancy blood tests available privately and from the NHS:

Blood group and rhesus status:  Rhesus status only matters if a rhesus negative mother is carrying a rhesus positive baby (where the child inherits this from a rhesus positive father). If some of your baby's blood gets into your bloodstream, your immune system may react and produce antibodies against it.

Anti-D injections can prevent rhesus negative women from producing antibodies. Usually we give anti-D injections at 28 and 34 weeks. Anti-D only stays in your system for about six weeks, which is why you need to have it more than once.

Anaemia:  A full blood count is to check your haemoglobin level and to ensure that you are not anaemic. If you are anaemic, we will give you iron tablets.

Infections:  Infections can cause damage to the unborn baby, particularly German measles (rubella), syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

Thyroid function testHyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism could be associated with miscarriage, preterm delivery, and stillbirth may require medical attention and sometimes an ultrasound scan. 

Pregnancy blood tests only available with private pregnancy care:

Toxoplasmosis: If you get toxoplasmosis for the first time when you are pregnant, or up to three months before you conceive, there is a risk the infection can pass to the unborn baby. The risks of toxoplasmosis include miscarriage, stillbirth, and serious health problems for the baby. Toxoplasmosis infection is caused by a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, which can be found in undercooked or raw meat, unpasteurised goat’s milk and cat litter.

Chicken pox:  If you are immune, there is no risk to your baby. If you are not immune, there is a risk that your baby and medical attention is required..

Consult your doctor/midwife if you:
  • have a history of contracting infections
  • are not sure which blood testing in pregnancy you need
  • need a second opinion
  • are worried you may have an infection.

At Elsbeth's Doctors our female consultant obstetrician and gynaecologists are specialists in fetal maternal medicine. They can give once off advice throughout pregnancy, do baby scans and offer private pregnancy care.