Which blood tests will I have at my booking appointment?

Blood group It's important to know your blood group, in case you need a transfusion during pregnancy or birth. It’s also important to know your Rhesus factor, whether it is positive (present) or negative (absent).  If you're Rh negative and the father of your baby is positive, there's a chance your baby will be positive, too.  If some of your baby’s blood enters your circulation, say during birth, your body might produce antibodies that start to attack your next baby's red blood cells. Injections can be given at 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, and again after the birth, to prevent this from happening.

Full blood count 

This can tell if you are anaemic.  If you're anaemic, your midwife will talk to you about the best foods to eat to boost your iron stores, and she will discuss with you whether you also need to take iron supplements.

Immunity rubella 

Most girls are immunised against rubella during school, so most pregnant women tend to be immune to rubella.  If you aren't immune, your midwife will advise you to have a vaccination after the birth of your baby, and to avoid anyone who might have rubella during your pregnancy.  If you become infected with rubella during your pregnancy, it can affect your baby.

Hepatitis B 

You could be a carrier for hepatitis B and not know it.  A blood test can tell you if you have ever had Hepatitis B, and also if you are immune to it.  If you are not immune, you can have a course of vaccinations after your baby is born.  If you have Hepatitis B, your baby can be given an immunoglobulin and a vaccine at birth to prevent your baby from contracting Hepatitis B.

Syphilis 

This sexually transmitted infection is now rare, however, it can cause abnormalities in your baby if it is not treated.  Treatment will protect your baby from the disease.

HIV 

You’ll be offered a test for HIV; this is not routine but is routinely offered.  If you have the infection, steps can be taken to reduce the chance of the virus being transmitted to your baby, and your baby can be offered medication.

Urine test 

This is to test for bugs that may be in your urine, but not causing any symptoms.  This situation can worsen during the pregnancy, and the infection can even track back to your kidneys and cause a kidney infection.  If any bugs are found, you can have antibiotics to clear it up.

Chicken pox 

Your immunity to chicken pox may be checked.

Pregnancy test 

Sometimes your midwife will order a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy, or to track the progress of your pregnancy in the early weeks before an ultrasound can be performed.

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