The decision to have a baby is a monumental one. It’s not a decision that many people make without first taking into consideration a number of factors. Many families plan carefully to ensure that they are starting their family at the right time. Some of those factors include ensuring that you have maternity insurance on your healthcare plan, that you are financially able to care for a new baby, and that you are healthy enough to carry a baby and care for a child. Some families, of course, are surprised with a little bundle of joy earlier than they might have anticipated. Either way, when you suspect you are pregnant, you will need to take a test. From there, your doctor will confirm your pregnancy with a blood pregnancy test. The process is relatively simple.
It might surprise you to know that not all women are aware of exactly how pregnancy occurs. Many assume that they can get pregnant at any time as long as they engage in unprotected sex. However, the window for fertility is actually very small each month. Women are only fertile for approximately 12 to 24 hours each month. However, sperm can live in the vaginal tract for as many as five days, which means you could get pregnant by having unprotected sex as many as five days prior to that 12 to 24 hour window. As long as there is sperm in the female body to meet the egg as it is released, fertilization can occur. Once fertilization occurs, it takes approximately one week for that fertilized egg to travel through the fallopian tubes and into a woman’s uterus. Once in the uterus, the egg will implant into the wall, confirming your chance of getting pregnant. From this point forward, you will produce the hormone hCG, which is the pregnancy hormone. A few days to a week after implantation, hCG levels are typically high enough to show up on a home pregnancy test.
Once you reach the day you miss your period, you will take a home pregnancy test. If this test shows up positive, you will then call your doctor. While some pregnancy tests are capable of detecting pregnancy as many as six days before your missed period, it is important that you do not take negative results as 100 percent accurate that early. Some women do not produce enough hCG to detect this early. Others ovulated later than originally thought and haven’t been pregnant long enough to detect at this point.
At your first doctor’s appointment, your obstetrician will ask you to provide a urine sample. She will use this sample to give you another home pregnancy test. This home pregnancy test is for the doctor’s records. She will then perform a pregnancy blood test to detect pregnancy.
Most doctors will send you to a lab to have this test performed. You will receive the results within a few days of having your blood drawn. The reason for this pregnancy blood test is to confirm your pregnancy 100 percent. It is not, however, the last time you will receive a pregnancy blood test during your pregnancy.
Many of the blood tests offered during pregnancy are strictly optional, though some are not. Your doctor may ask you to provide blood to test your blood time, your Rh factor, and for any diseases. You will also be given the option to have a blood test at some point in your pregnancy to check your baby for problems such as Down’s Syndrome.
Your doctor will also use your blood tests to determine your iron level. If you have iron deficiencies, it can cause issues for your pregnancy. Your doctor uses this information to help you become as healthy as possible. Around the end of your second trimester and the beginning of your third trimester, your doctor will order a blood test performed to check your glucose levels. This test is performed approximately one hour after you drink a special beverage provided by your doctor. This test will determine whether or not you suffer from gestational diabetes.
There are a number of blood tests your doctor will ask if you’d like performed as well as a number she will require you perform. Most tests are designed to ensure that you are in the best possible health. However, some are designed to let you know whether or not your baby is as healthy as possible. Either way, the pregnancy blood test provided while you are pregnant are important to both your health and the health of your baby. If you have concerns about any of the blood tests your doctor offers, talk to her about your feelings.