The ‘low’ down on routine pregnancy blood tests

Depending on whether you’re having your first baby, or number 2,3,4, it will change how many midwife appointments you have during the course of your pregnancy. Because I’m having my first, I get an extra one added in which is nice. They’re a fantastic opportunity to be able to ask all of the questions you’ve been thinking for the last few weeks, as your baby and body grows whether it be ‘How often should my baby move?’ to ‘But seriously, do you have any tips to make it sleep when I’m sleeping – it’s like a circus in there!” (That last one my boyfriend actually got me to ask them. I told him it’s a good thing to have such an active baby.)

In terms of what else happens at the appointments, you’ll have a series of blood tests over the course to monitor and make sure everything is going well. At my 27 week check up, I had a full blood screen run again including the gestational diabetes one. My platelets count ended up having dramatically fallen, and the midwife called the hospital to see if I was to be admitted, or just retested which seemed pretty scary and dramatic itself at the time!

So what are the platelets and what does it mean if they’ve fallen?

Basically your platelets count is the blood cells that make your blood clot. Having them fall below the normal range can be risky during labour, as it could mean you bleed a lot. The normal range is 150 – 600 and mine had fallen from 212 to 142 between appointments. After being tested again, they rose to 150, which doctors and midwives are happy with, I just have to be re tested at every appointment to make sure they maintain that level.

I also found out at this last appointment (31 weeks), that my haemoglobin levels were also on the borderline of normal, sitting at 115.

oh crap, what does that mean!

Don’t worry, turns out I’m just a risk taker who likes living on the edge! But in all seriousness, it’s just your iron levels which is a good thing because it means they are easy enough to raise and correct, unlike the platelets where there isn’t much you can do. I’ve kind of gone off eating red meat while I have been pregnant (I used to be vegetarian – dabbling with it a few times over the years), which the midwife said is also quite common anyway. I’m happy to go back to one steak a week but some other good food tips are eating green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli, eating almonds and even some iron rich breads and pasta to a degree.

Other blood tests you’ll have during the course of your pregnancy I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but include Vitamin D levels, and all the normal slightly morbid ones like syphilis and HIV. There is one more main test at my next appointment, but you’ll have to wait until then to get the ‘low’ down! (Seriously though, this one is a good thing to be low with, or not have at all. Stay tuned!).

Has anybody else experienced any ‘low’ levels during routine pregnancy blood tests?

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