Questions? | What is included in the prenatal lab work?
We usually do a blood draw for prenatal lab work and ask for a urine sample during one of your first visits. If you are transferring from another provider and have records of your lab work, we do not need to repeat it. The cost of the prenatal profile is included in the price of your home birth package, so you don’t have to worry about any extra lab costs! (Any additional tests needed due to a special circumstance or condition would be billed to the client).
The prenatal profile includes:
- Blood type – When you are pregnant, it is important to know your blood type (A, B, AB or O)
- Rh factor – Some people have this antigen (Rh positive) and some don’t (Rh negative). If you are Rh negative, we will order an antibody screen and discuss Rh sensitization, which can affect your current or future pregnancies (but the chances of sensitization are greatly reduced if treated prenatally or postpartally with an injection of RhoGam)
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) – This tells us about the type and number of blood cells you have, especially red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Abnormal results may indicate anemia (low red blood cell count), polycythemia (high red blood cell count) infection (high white blood cell, or leukocyte count), low hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells), or low platelet count (which affects your blood’s ability to clot).
- Test for immunity to Rubella (German Measles). It’s important to know your immunity status because Rubella, if contracted in the first trimester, can cause birth defects. Most women are immune either because they have already been exposed to Rubella or have acquired immunity through immunization.
- Hepatitis B screening — If you are a hepatitis B carrier, you may not know it and could pass this disease on to your baby, which can have lifelong effects if not treated immediately after birth.
- Syphilis, Gonohhrea, and Chlamydia — All women should be tested for these STIs when they are pregnant (and even better, before they become pregnant), because infections can result in serious problems for mom and baby. All of these infections can be treated with antibiotics during pregnancy. (Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can be detected using a urine sample, while syphilis testing is part of the blood work).
- HIV — the CDC and the California Department of Health recommend that all pregnant women be tested for HIV, the virus that caused AIDS. Early detection of the virus allows the mother to receive medication that can help prevent the transmission of this virus to her baby.
Other tests include:
- Urinalysis — Done at first prenatal visit and every subsequent visit to check for protein in the urine (a possible sign of preeclampsia), glucose (which could indicate the need to screen for gestational diabetes if it is recurrent), leukocytes (which indicate infection, often bladder or kidney), ketones (which can indicate inadequate carbohydrate intake), and several other readings which could indicate the need for further testing if not within normal limits.
Our belief is that birth is a normal, healthy physical and emotional process, and a pivotal experience in a woman’s life. We are privileged to accompany women and their families through the experience of pregnancy and birth, offering individualized care to each of our clients. We support your right to determine your own health care and make informed decisions for you and your baby, partnering with you to provide clinical expertise and evidence-based care. We look forward to helping you have the homebirth you envision!