If you’re a woman who’s expecting, it’s important to be aware of the recommended blood tests that can help ensure the health of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy. Many of these tests can be useful in detecting certain medical conditions that can be treated before they grow into bigger concerns. These four particular blood tests are among the most crucial for pregnant women to have.
1. Blood Sugar
Your blood sugar, or glucose, should be tested even if you’re not diabetic or considered to be at a high risk of developing the condition. A problem known as gestational diabetes can sometimes affect pregnant women who are otherwise healthy and cause blood sugar levels to spike.
Even though gestational diabetes is temporary and will go away on its own after the pregnancy, having this condition can be potentially harmful to you and your baby. A blood test to measure your blood sugar should be taken between 24 and 28 weeks of your pregnancy. If you are diagnosed, your doctor can help you with treatment options.
2. Autoimmune Disease
Pregnant women are sometimes likelier to develop certain autoimmune diseases that cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue and organs. You may be at greater risk of developing Graves disease, which is a thyroid condition that can often be diagnosed with a series of blood tests.
Antiphospholipid syndrome is another serious autoimmune disorder that you should have a blood test for while pregnant to safeguard the wellbeing of your developing baby. If you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes your white blood cell count to drop, donor cells from leukopaks can help combat this problem.
3. Genetic Screening
You or the child’s father might carry certain genetic disorders that can be passed onto offspring. Even people who don’t have the conditions themselves can still carry genetic abnormalities that will likely affect future generations within their family lines.
Hemophilia A, Tay-Sachs disease and Duchenne muscular dystrophy are a few of the conditions that can often be diagnosed with genetic blood testing. If you or the child’s father is a carrier of one of these genetic disorders, early treatment may be available to help your child develop better and live a healthier life. You may want to speak with a genetic counselor to help you better understand some of the inherited conditions.
4. AFP Screening
Short for alpha-fetoprotein, AFP is a protein that’s produced by an unborn baby’s liver and shows up in the mother’s blood. Having a blood test to measure AFP levels can help determine if your baby is developing properly in the womb.
Abnormal AFP levels sometimes indicate a chromosomal abnormality that can reveal if a baby will be born with a condition like Down syndrome. Abnormally high levels of AFP could also mean that you’re pregnant with more than one child.
Having these blood tests performed should be part of your prenatal care plan. If any abnormalities are diagnosed with these tests, doctors can often take measures to ensure a healthier pregnancy and delivery. Talk to your doctor if you have additional concerns or if you notice symptoms that may point to one of these conditions.
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