Having regular prenatal medical care is one of the best things you can do both for your unborn baby and for yourself. Blood testing plays an important role in that care. A complete blood count (CBC) test is one of the blood tests that’s performed at specific intervals during pregnancy, helping your doctor identify issues that could pose problems to you or your baby.
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., offers comprehensive, patient-centered pregnancy care, including CBC testing and other vital lab tests. In this post, learn more about the complete blood count test and the important role it plays for you and your new family member.
The basics of CBC testing
A complete blood count is more or less what its name implies: a test that focuses on measurements of key components of your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin, which is made up of special proteins that transport oxygen to your tissues. A CBC also measures hematocrit, which is a value that shows the ratio or percentage of red blood cells in relation to the volume of blood.
A CBC test uses a small sample of your blood, usually drawn from a vessel in your arm. The sample is carefully evaluated in a lab, and you and your doctor receive the results as a series of numbers or values.
These values can help identify potential health issues, such as infections, anemia, leukemia, or other concerns that need additional testing, and they can be used to monitor the effectiveness of certain types of medical treatments. CBC tests are performed as part of a routine physical exam, and they’re also used during pregnancy.
Why CBC testing is important during pregnancy
Dr. Morrison prescribes a CBC test as part of a prenatal panel, which is a comprehensive blood test that’s typically performed in the early months of pregnancy. While a CBC provides important information about your general health, it offers additional insight for women who are pregnant.
Measurements of red blood cells and hemoglobin are important for making sure your baby — and you — are receiving the oxygen that’s necessary for cell growth, tissue function, and normal fetal development. Low values could indicate you have anemia, which is a serious condition that can be treated with iron supplements or other therapies.
Your white blood cells are important for fighting infections that could interfere with fetal development or cause other problems with your health or your baby’s health during pregnancy or even after birth. Unusually low or high levels could indicate that you have an infection, or they could mean that you may have difficulty fighting off an infection during pregnancy.
Platelets are the components in blood that help your blood clot following an injury. If you have too few platelets, it could cause excessive blood loss during delivery. On the other hand, very high levels of platelets could mean you’re at an increased risk of developing blood clots that could affect both you and your baby.
Because of the important role of CBC testing, we draw a blood sample right in our office and send it for testing immediately to ensure we receive the results as soon as possible.
Prioritize your prenatal care
CBC testing is just one way Dr. Morrison helps expectant moms stay healthy and confident during pregnancy and delivery. To learn more about prenatal care or to schedule a prenatal exam, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today. His practice is located in Newburgh, Indiana, and it serves the Evansville area.