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 indeed cause a problem during one’s pregnancy or after the birth.
All the tests are done in order to check for anything that may rather cause a problem during one’s pregnancy or after the birth or to be able to check that one’s baby is healthy, but one does not have to have them if one does not want to.
It is advisable to discuss the matter with one’s midwife or doctor and give oneself enough time to make one’s decision. They should also be able to give oneself written information about the tests
One comes across 4 blood types (A, B, AB or O) and one will be given a blood test to find out which type one has. It is indeed useful to know one’s blood group in case one needs to be given blood, for example, if one has heavy bleeding (hemorrhage) during pregnancy or even 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 happens to be one’s ‘Rhesus (RhD) factor’, which does indicate if one has a substance referred to as ‘D antigen’ on the surface of your red blood cells. If one does one is RhD positive, if you do not one is RhD negative. Most people in Australia are positive, around 17% are negative.
If one’s blood is RhD negative, it is not usually a problem, unless one’s baby happens to be RhD positive. If it is, there is a risk that one’s body that will produce antibodies against one’s baby’s blood. This will not cause a problem for one’s current pregnancy but could impact future pregnancies.
It is indeed very common for women to develop iron deficiency during pregnancy. This is because one’s body needs extra iron so one’s baby has a sufficient blood supply and also receives necessary oxygen and nutrients. Increasing the amount of iron-rich foods one consumes during one’s pregnancy that can help avoid iron deficiency anemia. Some pregnant women do require an iron supplement, particularly from the 20th week of pregnancy. Anemia does make one tired and less able to cope with any sort of blood loss during labor and birth.
One’s midwife or doctor can tell one if one needs iron tablets to prevent or treat anemia. One’s iron levels will be checked throughout one’s pregnancy.
One’s blood test will also look for a number of infections that may indeed affect one’s pregnancy or one’s unborn baby.
• rubella (German measles)
• hepatitis C
• hepatitis B
• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is rather a type of diabetes that does affect some women during pregnancy. Diabetes is a condition whereby there is too much glucose (sugar) in one’s blood.
In most cases, gestational diabetes does develop in the third trimester (after 28 weeks) and usually does 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.