Expectant mothers around the country will agree that pregnancy is a wild ride, especially the first time around. When you discover you are pregnant, in addition to the flurry of excitement surrounding spreading the news and planning the nursery, your health and the subsequent health of your baby become top priorities. You can expect many doctor’s visits, tests, and examinations as your doctors work to evaluate your wellness and identify any potential issues or complications. The following lab tests are standard for all pregnant women throughout the first, second, and third trimesters.
Anemia is a very common blood disorder that occurs frequently during pregnancy. The hemoglobin in the body’s red blood cells is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, but without enough iron in the body, it’s difficult to build enough healthy red blood cells to keep hemoglobin levels balanced. Since pregnancy increases the risk of becoming anemic, this prenatal test is important to identify whether you need to take a daily iron supplement in addition to your existing prenatal vitamins. As your baby grows and the placenta develops, you need more iron than ever to support those red blood cells.
A balanced blood glucose level is just as important as strong iron levels in the body. This lab test involves drinking a liquid that contains glucose, waiting one hour, and then having your blood drawn to check your blood glucose level. If it is too high, it is a warning sign that you could develop gestational diabetes, and you will need to return for further testing. You can expect this test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
HIV and STDs
Of course, HIV and STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis could have an enormous impact on a pregnancy. Even if you have been with the same partner for many years, these tests are still required for the sake of the baby’s safety. Such diseases are known to cause miscarriage, infections in the baby, and other unwanted outcomes. Identifying any potential problems early on ensures that proper treatment can take place.
Group B Strep
Toward the end of pregnancy, you will also receive a group B strep (GBS) that tests for the type of bacterium that causes meningitis and blood infections in newborn infants. If you test positive, you simply receive an antibiotic to take during labor and delivery to protect your baby and prevent the transmission of the bacteria.