Week 8 - Prenatal Lab Tests

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Hello. This is Dr. Mauldin. Congratulations! You’re 8 weeks pregnant.

Your baby is now about ½ inch long. But even though the baby is still really small, all of her major organs have developed. Those organs just need to grow bigger and stronger now.

During pregnancy, all women will have some routine lab tests done. The tests are to look for possible problems with your health or with the health of your baby.

At your first visit, expect some blood work to be done. Your doctor will check your blood count to find our whether you are anemic. If you are, you will probably need to take an iron supplement.

Your blood type and Rh antigen will also be checked. If you are Rh negative, it will be important for you to get a Rhogam shot at 28 weeks and any time prior to that if you have some bleeding. Rhogam will prevent your body from making antibodies that could attack the baby’s blood.

You will also be tested for some infectious diseases. We want to know if you’ve had Rubella – or German Measles – in the past. If you have not, then of course, avoid anyone during your pregnancy who might have the disease – but more importantly, get vaccinated against Rubella once you are postpartum.

You will also be tested for syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease and even if you think you are not at risk for having the disease, it is a state law that we test you. Syphilis can be passed to the baby and cause major problems. But syphilis is easily treated. So we need to screen for it.

You should also be offered an HIV test. Because there is a chance HIV can be passed to the baby, we want to know, if you are positive. If you are positive, you can take medicine to significantly decrease the chance of the baby being infected.

You’ll give a urine sample at each visit. It is a simple way of screening you for a possible urinary tract infection (which are more common in pregnancy) and it is also a simple way of screening you for preeclampsia (which is a disease that is unique to pregnancy and only goes away after delivery).

And finally, you need to have a PAP smear done – which looks for precancerous cells on the cervix. And at the same time, the doctor will screen for the sexually transmitted diseases gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

I hope you’re doing well and I’ll talk to you in a week.

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