As part of one’s antenatal care, one will be offered several blood tests. Some are offered to all women, and some are only offered if one might be at risk of a particular infection or inherited condition.
Blood tests will indeed check one’s blood type as well as anything that may cause a problem during one’s pregnancy or after the birth.
All the tests are indeed carried out to check for anything that actually may cause a problem during one’s pregnancy or after the birth, or to check that one’s baby is healthy. One, of course, need not go through such a test if one does not want to.
One needs to have a good talk with one’s midwife or doctor and also give oneself sufficient time to take one’s own decision. They should also give oneself written information about the tests.
There are nearly 4 blood types (A, B, AB or O) and one will be given a blood test to find out which type one is. It is indeed useful to know one’s blood group in case one does need to be given blood, for example, if one has heavy bleeding (hemorrhage) during one ’s pregnancy or birth.
Rhesus (RhD) factor
When one does find out one’s blood group, one will also find out if one’s type is positive or negative. This is one’s ‘Rhesus (RhD) factor’, which does indicate if one has a substance known as ‘D antigen’ on the surface of one’s red blood cells. If one does one is RhD positive, if one does not when one is RhD negative. If one’s blood is RhD negative, it is not much of a problem, unless of course, one’s baby happens to be RhD positive. If it is, there is also a risk that one’s body will produce antibodies against one’s baby’s blood. This will not cause a problem for one’s current pregnancy, but could also impact future pregnancies.
It is also very common for women to develop iron deficiency during pregnancy. This is due to one’s body requiring extra iron in order for the baby to have sufficient blood supply and also receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients. Increasing the amount of iron-rich food one can consume during one’s pregnancy that can also help avoid iron deficiency anemia. Some pregnant women do require an iron supplement, particularly from the 20th week of pregnancy. Anemia makes one tired and less able to cope with any blood loss during labor and birth.
One’s midwife or doctor can also tell oneself that one does need iron tablets to prevent or treat anemia. One iron levels will indeed be checked throughout one’s pregnancy.
One’s blood test will also look for a number of infections that may affect one’s pregnancy or one’s unborn baby.
• rubella (German measles)
• hepatitis B
• hepatitis C
• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
It is necessary to remember that one can still get exposed to all of these infections during pregnancy after one has had a negative test result. This includes sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B if one or one’s sexual partner does take risks, such as having unprotected sex. One can also get HIV and hepatitis if one injects drugs and shares needles. One’s midwife or doctor can also discuss this with oneself.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is indeed a type of diabetes that does affect some women during pregnancy. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.
In most cases, gestational diabetes does develop in the third trimester (after 28 weeks) and does usually disappear after the baby is born. However, women who do develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in one’s life.