Booking Blood Tests
If your bloods have not been taken before your booking visit in the hospital, these will be performed as part of your consultation. A full blood count (FBC) is performed in order to get a baseline level of haemoglobin; this is repeated again at 28 weeks and if necessary during your pregnancy.
A blood group is performed to determine your blood group status, and most importantly your Rhesus status. Infectious disease bloods, i.e. HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Syphilis are performed to screen for the most common infectious diseases in pregnancy. Although these are rare, if diagnosed early, treatment can be given to prevent transmission from mother to a baby.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
The pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) can be measured using serum beta-hCG (β-hCG), a blood test that can be performed in early pregnancy. This test may be done by your GP or in the Emergency Room.
This is done when:
an ultrasound scan is inconclusive
the gestation of a pregnancy is unknown
there is a query that the pregnancy is not in the right location i.e., in a suspected ectopic pregnancy.
Two or more results are needed, usually 48 hours apart, to accurately interpret the test. If the β-hCG level increases by more than 66% in 48 hours this is reassuring and is likely to be associated with a healthy viable pregnancy. If the β-hCG level decreases by more than 15%, this suggests a likely miscarriage. It is important that blood results are interpreted in conjunction with your detailed history, a clinical examination and if medically indicated, an ultrasound scan.
Additional Blood Tests
Other bloods such as Thyroid Function Tests or Liver Function Tests may be performed depending on your medical history and after consultation with your doctor. These are not routinely preformed on every pregnant woman.