Preparing to have a baby

Couple days ago I had a chance to talk to a newlywed couple who is preparing to have a baby, so I decided to inform you some blood tests that should be done before start trying to get pregnant.

Complete blood count (CBC) – A CBC gives important information about the kinds and numbers of cells in the blood, especially red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This test helps you check any symptoms, such as anemia, erythrocytes, leukocytes, blood platelet, and many other disorders before pregnancy.

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Blood type test (both ABO & Rh system) – Human blood is typed by certain markers (called antigens) on the surface of red blood cells. The most important antigens are blood group antigens (ABO) and the Rh antigen. So the two most common blood type tests are the ABO and Rh tests. ABO system categorizes blood types into A, B, AB, and O which we all familiar with. Another system, Rh blood type is especially important for pregnant women. A problem can occur when a woman who has Rh-negative blood becomes pregnant with a baby (fetus) that has Rh-positive blood. This is called Rh incompatibility. If the blood of an Rh-positive baby mixes with the blood of an Rh-negative mother during pregnancy or delivery, the mother’s immune system makes antibodies. This antibody response is called Rh sensitization and, depending on when it occurs, can destroy the baby’s red blood cells and eventually fatal death.

Sexual transmitted disease (STD) (Such as HIV, Hepatitis, and syphilis) – Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are generally acquired by sexual contact. The organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids. Some such infections can also be transmitted nonsexual, such as from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles. Syphilis can seriously complicate pregnancy and result in spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, non-immune hydrops, intrauterine growth restriction, and perinatal death, as well as serious sequelae in liveborn infected children.

Thalassemia trait test– We found more Thai people who carry the Thalassemia trait. Since the trait doesn’t impact them directly, most of them are unaware of this. However if two people carrying the Thalassemia trait get married, there is a 25% chance that their children will have the dangerous Thalassemia Major disease. Children affected by Thalassemia seldom live beyond 40. Their lives are continuously dependent on blood transfusions and medication. Permanent cures like stem cell transplants are very expensive and also very risky. It is thus advised that people getting married should take a simple blood test and ensure that both the partners are not carrying the Thalassemia trait.

Rubella Test – Rubella (German measles) is an infection caused by the rubella virus. It is usually a mild illness causing a rash, sore throat and swollen glands. It occurs most commonly in young children, but can affect anyone. However, if you are pregnant and catch rubella, it can cause serious damage to your unborn child. Before your first pregnancy you should have a blood test to check if you are immune to rubella. If you are not immune, you can be immunised before becoming pregnant.

I Hope that this article is beneficial to you and encourage anyone who plan to have a baby to take these blood tests before trying to get pregnant, for your child’s sake.

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