During your pregnancy, laboratory testing can provide you and your health care professional with important information. Having notice of possible medical problems allows us to take steps to address these problems early, when treatment is most likely to be beneficial.
For example, if lab testing shows that you have an infection, we can treat the infection right away, before it affects your health or your baby’s health.
What’s more, when lab testing finds encouraging results, it can give you some reassurance that your pregnancy is progressing normally.
Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, our experienced obstetrical care providers – including our doctors and certified nurse midwives — have many strategies for helping you have a healthy pregnancy. Lab tests are just one of them.
In this blog, we offer a breakdown of some of the routine lab work we do during your pregnancy and why we recommend it.
When we test your blood, we send it to a laboratory for analysis. By studying what is and is not in your blood, the lab can give us information that we can use to diagnose various types of health problems or potential areas of concern.
Blood tests during pregnancy are also known as a prenatal panel.
For example, a complete blood count (CBC) measures various components in your blood, such as your white blood cells. Having an abnormal number of white blood cells could be a sign of infection.
A CBC can also alert us to the possible presence of anemia (low iron levels) and problems with blood clotting. These conditions can be harmful to you and your baby.
Blood testing also checks your Rh factor. Rh is a type of protein found on red blood cells. Individuals who are Rh positive have this protein, and those who don’t have it are Rh negative.
Knowing your Rh factor matters, because if you are Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive, this incompatibility could cause medical problems for your baby. Fortunately, treatment can protect you and your baby.
Blood testing for infection and disease
In addition, blood testing checks for various types of infections and diseases, including:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, herpes, human papillomavirus, gonorrhea, syphilis)
Urine tests during pregnancy
You also receive urine testing during pregnancy. Urine testing checks your urine for signs of infection, excess protein (which can be a sign of a serious condition known as preeclampsia later in your pregnancy), or excess sugar (a warning sign of diabetes).
When your labs are positive
If any of your lab tests or urine tests show abnormal results, we typically do additional testing to learn more about your health and your baby’s health. Once testing is complete, we talk with you about a treatment plan.
Remember, testing is just one of the tools we have to monitor the health of your pregnancy. It’s also very important for you to notify us if you notice any unusual symptoms or changes in your health.
Schedule your pregnancy care
Routine prenatal care is one of the best ways to care for yourself and your baby during pregnancy.
To schedule preconception (before pregnancy) care or prenatal (during pregnancy) care with our doctors or certified nurse midwives at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment.