How to read blood test results in pregnancy

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Read the results of the blood tests

To have a correct interpretation of the reports of the blood tests during pregnancy, it is always essential to consult your doctor, also because during gestation the reference ranges may be different from those of a non-pregnant woman, furthermore the reference values ​​may vary from laboratory to laboratory. However, we can roughly get an idea of ​​how the various blood tests that are prescribed during pregnancy have gone. Here are the indications of Giulia Ferri, gynecologist at the Sant'Anna hospital in Como.





Blood group.

The report tells which blood group the woman belongs to, whether A, B, AB or 0, and whether she has a positive or negative Rh factor, depending on whether or not RhD antigen is present.

Glycemia.

Based on the values, it indicates whether the woman is at risk of developing gestational diabetes.

  •  If it is up to 92, the blood sugar is considered normal;
  •  up to a value of 125, the woman shows an intolerance to glucose which gives a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy, for this reason an early glycemic load curve is prescribed between 16 and 18 weeks of pregnancy;
  •  if the value is higher than 126, the diagnosis of pre-pregnancy diabetes mellitus is immediately posed, that is, the woman already before starting the pregnancy had type II diabetes which she had not yet noticed.

Red paint test from toxotest.

They are two distinct tests, even if they are read in the same way: in fact, the report says whether the woman has already contracted rubella or toxoplasmosis in the past. "The report shows the indication of the IGG and IGM antibodies" explains Giulia Ferri: the IGMs are the first antibodies to develop and for this they indicate that the infection occurred recently; IGGs develop later and remain for life ".  

3 pictures may emerge from the report:

  •  if the IGGs are positive and the IGMs negative, it means that the infection was acquired a long time ago and the woman is immune, so there is no fear that the infection will recur;
  •  if both IGG and IGM are negative, it means that the lady has never come into contact with infection and is prone to get sick;
  •  if the IGGs and IGMs are both positive, it means that the infection was recently acquired.

"In this case, the so-called avidity test must be carried out in specialized laboratories, which allows the infection to be dated with a good approximation" continues the gynecologist. "IGGs, in fact, develop a greed, that is a strength to fight the infection, which is higher the more remote is the acquisition: therefore, if the infection has been recently contracted, the greed will be low, if she has been contracted for longer, the greed is high. For example, if at 5 weeks of pregnancy the toxo-test gives positive IGM and IGG and from the greed test we see that the IGGs have a high greed, it means that the infection has been acquired for a few months already, so you can rest assured; if there is low greed, it means that the infection occurred in the periconceptional period, so the risks are greater and the woman enters a path of more in-depth counseling ".



Test for Cytomegalovirus.

The report reads like those of toxoplasmosis and rubella, verifying the presence of IGG and IGM antibodies and, if necessary, carrying out the greed test.

Hemoglobin electrophoresis.

The positivity or negativity can be read from the values ​​of hemoglobin A and fetal hemoglobin, which must be compared with the reference ranges shown next to your data: if the value is in the range, everything is fine, if instead it is outside, or the report indicates the presence of abnormal hemoglobins, which means that there is an anomaly that requires further investigation. The ranges vary depending on the laboratory where the test is performed.

Complete blood count.

The blood count is one of the tests that most of all has different reference ranges than those of a non-pregnant woman and for this reason it can give values ​​that are only apparently altered. "Often women come to the office a little alarmed because they see asterisks in the reports that indicate values ​​that are out of the ordinary, when instead they are often due to physiological transformations of pregnancy" says Giulia Ferri.

"In the case of the blood count, in particular, during pregnancy there is a physiological hemodilution, that is a dilution of the blood, with an increase in the liquid mass, in which the red blood cells are dissolved: this is because the blood volume doubles almost by support the circulation of the feto-placental system.

The criteria for evaluating any anemia vary according to the trimester in which the woman is, just as the reference values ​​can change from laboratory to laboratory, so more than ever it is necessary to rely on the correct interpretation of the doctor.


Other relevant blood counts are the platelets: they too decrease physiologically due to the haemodilution phenomenon, however if at the end of pregnancy the values ​​are lower than 100.000, the use of analgesia is not recommended, just as attention should be paid to a greater risk of bleeding during childbirth ".  


Test for HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C.

The exam is read with either a negative or a positive result.

Read also: Exams in pregnancy

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