Pregnancy blood test is required to determine whether or not a woman is pregnant.
Now of course home pregnancy test kits have made sure that it is a simple procedure done in the privacy of one’s home that can accurately determine whether a pregnancy subsists or not.
Pregnancy blood tests are usually undertaken to confirm a pregnancy by detecting or measuring the presence of the hCG hormone in the blood.
A quantitative pregnancy blood test for hCG determines the level of hCG present in the blood stream whereas a qualitative test will offer a simple positive or negative result; whether a woman is pregnant or not.
Though urine tests conducted at home by the woman herself are seen as fairly accurate, they are not as accurate as pregnancy blood tests. This is because there may be a flaw in the test; it could be past its expiry date or it may be used incorrectly or at the incorrect time.
For all these reasons a urine test may show false negatives even in the presence of a pregnancy.
A blood test is more accurate than the urine test because all these possible problems are obviated and also a blood test may be able to detect even lower levels of hCG than would a urine test.
So long as the lab carrying out the pregnancy blood test follows proper protocol and technique and uses the prescribed methodology, a blood test to determine a pregnancy is more accurate than a urine test.
Other than determination of the presence or absence of a pregnancy, blood tests performed during pregnancy will also determine the following:
- A pregnancy blood test will examine what blood type a woman is and also ask what the blood group of the father is. Since the Rh factor in blood types is crucial to a pregnancy this is an important test. When the factor Rh is found to be negative in a woman’s blood type, certain treatments have to be initiated for the protection of the unborn baby from certain blood related problems.
- The pregnancy blood test will also measure a woman’s hemoglobin level, to determine whether or not she is anemic. Anemia can increase the risk of a preterm delivery and also cause a woman to feel even more tired than normal during her pregnancy. If required, iron supplements will be prescribed.
- A blood test administered during pregnancy will also look for HIV, AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases or Hepatitis B, because they may be harmful to the baby.
- The pregnancy blood test will also look for antibodies for chickenpox and Rubella. If infected with these diseases during a pregnancy, this could be very serious since it could have consequences such as birth defects in the baby.
These are just some of the routine reasons for which pregnancy blood tests are performed.
If a pregnancy is high risk, if there is the presence of infection or disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, or if it is subsequent on a miscarriage, additional blood or other tests may be prescribed.