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Please could somebody explain routine pregnancy blood tests in layman's terms?

(10 Posts)
BedHog Wed 14-Sep-11 09:30:45

I've just had my 28 week blood test results back and I haven't got a clue what most of the words and numbers on the results sheet mean. There seems to be an acceptable range of results in each category, which are shown in brackets. Some of my results fall outside those ranges, but my midwife didn't mention them as being of concern other than suggesting I take an iron supplement as that was a bit low. Btw, the sample was fasting blood as I had it taken at the same time as my GTT. Would this have affected any of the levels of the mysterious substances in my blood?

Please could somebody briefly explain what the terms below mean, and possible consequences of having a high or low score on any of them, or link to somewhere that explains them simply? Many thanks! smile

Haemoglobin (12.5-16.5) I know this is iron, and my level was 10.6 so needs boosting!
Platelet Count (150-400)
Haematocrit (0.37-0.47) Mine was only 0.31
MCH (27-32)
Neutrophils (2-7.5)
Monocytes (0.2-1)
Basophils (0-0.2)
White Cell Count (4-11)
Red Cell Count (3.8-5.8) Mine was 3.57
Mean Cell Volume (80-100)
RDW (11.8-14.8)
Lymphocytes (1.5-4) Mine was 1.4
Eosinophils (0-0.4)

confused

notcitrus Wed 14-Sep-11 09:51:59

Basically they're numbers of the different types of cell in your blood. Platelets are fragments of cells needed for clotting. Haematocrit is the total proportion of blood cells (bit low because your red blood cell count is a bit low - the RBCs are the ones carrying oxygen and iron). The other cytes and phils are types of white blood cell - you'll have more if fighting an infection.

I don't know if having a low proportion of cells per volume of blood is related to fasting, but it might be.

BedHog Wed 14-Sep-11 09:59:57

Thanks for explaining notcitrus - I didn't realise there were different sorts of white blood cells.

notcitrus Wed 14-Sep-11 10:36:10

There's a ridiculous number of types of white blood cells - loads of subtypes of lymphocytes in particular. It was after learning about them I decided not to specialise in immunology as it's way too bloody complicated!

TheWicketKeeperIsDown Wed 14-Sep-11 13:05:57

The Hb is not a measure of iron, but haemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells which carries oxygen. That the RBC (red blood count) are frequently lower than usual in pregnancy, not because of true anaemia (where there are fewer RBCs than usual), but because the volume of liquidin your bloodstream increases by half again in the second trimester. So, if you have the same number of red cells but they're circulating in a bigger volume of fluid, the concentration of them (which is what is measured) will be less. This means that what is counted as an acceptable Hb or RBC count in pregnancy is abut lower than in "normal" life. If you are anaemic, The iron count (ferritin or transferrin saturation) may be a guide as to whether iron deficiency is the cause of the anaemia (there are other causes).

whizzyrocket Wed 14-Sep-11 13:06:07

I'm amazed you have had a breakdown at all- I've just told that everything's fine and I'm immune to rubella! That's it!

TheWicketKeeperIsDown Wed 14-Sep-11 13:08:50

Btw, fasting doesn't tend to alter your fluid levels enough to see a change in the RBC count, but if you are dehydrated then the amoun of fluid in your blood is reduced relative to the same number of RBCs and the Hb and RBC levels tend to appear increased.

BedHog Wed 14-Sep-11 17:34:11

So is the extra volume of blood in pregnancy mostly 'carrier fluid' rather than blood cells? And are the acceptable ranges (the numbers in brackets) adjusted for pregnancy or just standard for all blood tests? I didn't realise blood was so complicated!!

Whizzy I seem to get a breakdown sheet with every blood test, but no explanation of what it means. Also they don't give you the results until your next mw appointment, so I've probably been walking around with low haemoglobin for the last 6 weeks without knowing!

TheWicketKeeperIsDown Wed 14-Sep-11 18:00:20

Yep, it's carrier fluid and the standard ranges are for "normal" (wink) people.

CrazyAlien06 Wed 14-Sep-11 19:44:17

I had low platelets at my 28 wk bloods and had to have repeat bloods every 2 weeks. My last result at 35 wks was 115 and was advised that should it get down below 100 I would have to be referred to a consultant as they would possibly have to have platelet transfusion ready for me when
I go into labour. luckily my 37 wks results came back today and were 113smile I am sooo happy as no more blood tests until i go into labour :0)

So platelets affect clotting- i was advised I wouldn't be able to have an epidural or give birth in the water if my level got too low.

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