What is a Pregnancy Blood Test?

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Generally, if you are planning to go in for a check up you can expect a number of tests to ascertain your baby and your growing baby’s. Among these are blood tests. 

There are two types of pregnancy tests. These are: 

  • The blood test– A blood test during a pregnancy shows how much human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is in the blood, through a procedure known as venipuncture. As a hormone, it is produced by the placenta shortly after conception and can be detected through a blood test averagely 10 days after conception. A pregnancy blood test can provide more details and is more sensitive than the urine test. If the hCG is found in your blood then congratulations, you are pregnant! The more the hCG levels are found in your body, the clear the results get. 
  • The urine test – This is used to screen the levels of sugars, protein, ketones, as well as bacteria that could be present in your urine.  With this information, your doctor can know the status of your kidneys or whether you have diabetes, pre-eclampsia etc. Read more on urine test here

Factors that Lead to Blood Tests During a Pregnancy

A pregnancy blood test enables the doctor to monitor your pregnancy for various reasons:

A pregnancy blood test enables the doctor to monitor your pregnancy for various reasons:

  • Malignant tumors in the uterus
  • Infections
  • More than one fetus (triplets, twins, etc)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Potential miscarriage
  • Confirmation of a normal pregnancy
  • Death of the fetus
  • Screening of Down Syndrome
  • Determine the age of the fetus
  • Determine whether a person should undergo other medical treatments such as x-rays

Types of Blood Tests That Your Doctor Might Consider

RH factor or Blood type – During your first clinic visit, your doctor may check your blood type to determine whether it is A, B, O or AB, RH negative. The blood checks for antibodies that might possibly affect the pregnancy.

Blood count – This test tells if your hemoglobin in the red blood cells has decreased as this could be a sign of iron deficiency. If you are deficient, the doctor will recommend iron supplements and other foods rich in iron.

Rubella – The tests checks for rubella virus antibodies in your blood to determine the level of immunity. This virus possibly causes a stillbirth, miscarriage or a preterm birth and other serious birth abnormalities. 

Hepatitis B – Most women may not show any signs or symptoms of this disease and it can be easily passed to the baby during or after birth. The test shows if the mother is a carrier of Hepatitis B and if the results are positive, the mother is given an injection, within 12 hours after birth. 

Syphilis screening – This infection is sexually transmitted and if it was not treated on time, it could cause harm to the baby. When the mother tests positive, she is given antibiotics to treat the infection. 

HIV testing – The virus causes AIDS and when the mother tests positive, she and the baby can get medical treatment to help maintain their health and also to reduce the chances of the baby from being infected.

Glucose challenge test – This is done especially to women with a high risk of diabetes.

Where to get a Pregnancy blood test

Most pregnancy blood tests are done on exclusive doctors’ requests, rather than your personal one. With this regard, your doctor may send you out to a certain clinic with written instructions to the lab technicians. Public hospitals will do this much faster especial because antenatal care in Kenya is free and hundreds of women stream in at every clinic check up. A section of the clinic area is therefore usually set up for all the tests you will go through. 


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

 Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: healthline, early-pregnancy-tests, pregnancybirthbaby

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