What Is A CBC Test & Why Is It Needed?

Image : Shutterstock


CBC (complete blood count) is a test that evaluates different types of cells in the blood. This test helps determine the count of red blood cells to diagnose the presence of polycythemia, anemia, hematocrit levels and hemoglobin levels. It also checks the differential count of white blood cells and platelet count. You will have to get this test done during the early weeks of pregnancy (i.e., before 12 weeks), or whenever your doctor suggests it.

So, get to know in detail about the test requirement and how your doctor will assess the test report.

Why Is Cbc Blood Test During Pregnancy Needed?

A CBC test usually helps your doctor get a better idea of any illnesses you may be suffering from, and may also help him diagnose fatigue, weakness, infections and other deficiency conditions such as anaemia. Infact, a CBC test is probably the first test recommended during pregnancy.

A CBC test during pregnancy is required for several reasons including:

  • Measurement of haemoglobin content.
  • Measurement of haematocrit or packed cell volume.
  • Measurement of blood platelets that play a role in blood clotting.
  • The amount of individual white blood cells (monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils). These numbers could prove to be helpful in the detection of any infections whatsoever.
  • The amount of red blood cells present in the blood which could helpful in the early detection of any forms of deficiency (anaemia).

In some cases, your doctor may also have a blood smear test done to rule out any possible conditions such as sickle cell disease, malaria, leukemia and other blood diseases.

CBC test is actually one of the most simplest tests carried out during pregnancy, and is limited to merely drawing blood from the vein. There may be a small bruise at the site from where the blood is drawn, but the blood flow through the area usually stops in a couple of minutes.

[ Read: Causes Of Anemia In Pregnancy ]

Is It Really Essential During Pregnancy?

CBC test is one of the many important tests to be carried out during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believe that this test may also help detect anaemia, after which, iron supplements can be given to improve the general health of the mother during pregnancy.

The fact that this test helps early detection of many infections and other conditions that may prove to be harmful for the baby is what makes it even more important to be carried out during pregnancy.

[ Read: Iron Rich Foods During Pregnancy ]

Other Pregnancy Tests:

Apart from CBC, these are several other important tests that you may need to undergo while you are pregnant.

  • Blood type test (with Rh factor and antibody screening test)
  • Rubella titer test
  • Hepatitis B test
  • HIV test
  • Syphilis test
  • Glucose challenge test
  • Other tests to detect chromosomal abnormalities
  • Ultrasound

It is important to have your doctor’s opinion before undergoing any tests during this crucial period. Also make sure your doctor is aware of any medications or drugs you are already taking to rule out the risk of any complications (usually observed in individuals with bleeding disorders or those on blood thinning medications) associated with the test. (1)

[ Read: Essential Tests To Take During Pregnancy ]

We hope this article helped you understand more about CBC test and how it is especially important to be carried out during pregnancy. Got any experiences you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments box below.

Recommended Articles: