When is the test taken?
After you've found out you're pregnant, a blood sample is taken during your prenatal visit to the doctor. More blood will likely be drawn during later prenatal checkups for other reasons.
Who needs to take the test?
Blood tests are routine for all pregnant women.
Be prepared for a small needle stick, usually in the arm. The blood is then sent to a laboratory and analyzed.
When are test results available, and how are they interpreted?
Results from the tests are usually available within a few days. Performed properly, blood tests are nearly 100 percent accurate. They are interpreted in various ways, depending on what analyses have been performed on the blood, and what information your practitioner needs to know. The results are not usually called to the patient unless there is something that either needs treatment or further testing.
What are the tests and why are they done?
Typically, you have the following tests performed.
CBC - checks for anemia which has been associated with mental delay and platelets which are important for blood clotting
Blood type - ABO and Rh status - either + or -
Antibody screen - to ensure no irregular antibodies in your blood that may harm the developing fetus
Pap smear - screens for cervical cancer
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia cultures - are recommended by the CDC on everyone regardless of age, relationship status, or symptoms because infants delivering in the presence of these bacteria can lead to blindness and other more serious infections - pneumonia, etc.
Immune status to HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, and Rubella - infections that can create problems during pregnancy as well as infections in your newborn baby
Others may include:
- Toxoplasmosis antibodies -especially if you have cats-to check immunity to 'toxo' - usually transmitted through cat feces
- Herpes simplex antibodies- severe infections, especially of the brain, in newborns when transmitted
- Thyroid function - abnormal thyroid function can be associated with mental delay
- Parvovirus and/or varicella (chicken pox) virus - especially if you are a teacher/child care giver.