When and how to take a pregnancy blood test?

Quand et comment faire une prise de sang de grossesse ?

A pregnancy blood test is a blood test designed to check the health of both mother and baby. This blood test must be carried out as early as the first month of pregnancy to confirm the pregnancy, as well as other(later) tests to validate the mother's blood group or check forany infectious diseases dangerous to the fetus (toxoplasmosis, rubella, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C). So if you're pregnant (and congratulations!), it's essential to ask your doctor or gynecologist to prescribe a pregnancy blood test as soon as possible! Elia tells you all about it!

Why take a pregnancy blood test?

To fully understand blood sampling, it's important to review the objectives of this blood test, which takes place as early as the first month of your pregnancyand throughout gestation, if required.

Confirming a new pregnancy

Pregnancy blood tests are initially used to confirm a pregnancy. To determine whether the embryo is present(and firmly attached to the uterine wall), the blood test measuresthe level of the hormone hCG in the blood.

Of course, the urine tests available in pharmacies and parapharmacies are fairly reliable, but a blood test is necessary to confirm pregnancy . Measuring hCG hormone levels is also an indicator of health .

Check-ups during pregnancy

One (or more! ) check-ups during pregnancy are recommended to ensure the good health of both mother and baby... In addition to the usual measurements: weight trends, mother's vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, etc.), shape and size of the uterus, presence (or absence) of fluid or blood loss, the pregnancy check-up may also include blood tests to detect abnormalities or risks for the baby or mother, particularly in the case of a multiple pregnancy.

The healthcare professional in charge of monitoring the pregnancy will prescribe urine analyses and blood tests. These tests are designed, among other things, to validate the mother's blood group (groups A, B, AB or O and Rh system) to prevent the risk of rhesus incompatibility.

They can also be used to check for any deficiencies (anemia, for example), to screen for diabetes screeningand detect infectious diseases (syphilis, HIV infection, hepatitis B and toxoplasmosis). The mother will also be offered a screening test for cervical cancer (Pap test) and other tests for certain STIs.

When should a pregnancy blood test be carried out?

Pregnancy blood tests to confirm that an embryo has decided to make its nest can be taken 3 weeks after unprotected sexual intercourse during the ovulation period. But there's no need to rush off to the nearest laboratory! The longer the blood test is taken after the presumed date of conception, the more concentrated the hCG hormone will be in the blood. This makes the results all the more reliable. Ideally, a blood test should be taken 4 to 5 weeks after the date of presumed intercourse , as this is THE ONE!

Where can I take a pregnancy blood test?

Now that we know when the pregnancy blood test should be taken, we need to know where!

Directly in the laboratory

Pregnancy blood tests, whether to confirm pregnancy or for a check-up, can be carried out ina medical analysis laboratory, and at any time of the day, since you don't need to be fasting.

In general, you don't need to make an appointment, and in less than 5 minutes you're done! Just remember to bring your prescription, carte vitale and health insurance card. When prescribed by a doctor, the hCG pregnancy hormone test is reimbursed by the French social security system .

Home blood sampling

Blood samples can also be taken at home. All you need to do is make an appointment with a nursing site or medical analysis laboratory that offers this service. The nurse will come to your home with all the equipment needed to perform the test.

Please note that the prescription must state "at home" in order to be reimbursed by the Assurance maladie. Social Security covers home nursing care at 100% if the patient is eligible for CMU (universal health insurance), or is more than 6 months pregnant, or has an ALD (long-term illness) and the care is related to this.

How to interpret blood test results?

Taking a blood test is all very well: knowing how to interpret it is even better! Although your gynecologist or midwife is the best person to give you a precise summary of what's going on in your uterus, here are a few things to remember about this test.

Changes in beta-hCG blood levels

Human chorionic gonadotropin, or "hCG", is the hormone produced by the body when a woman is pregnant. Its presence in urine or blood is one of the first signs that a baby is on the way! The pregnancy hormone (hCG) can be detected as soon as the embryo is attached to the uterine wall, i.e. between the 6th and 14th day after fertilization.

The level of beta-hCG in the blood rises steadily during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy (and even doubles every 48 hours!). It then peaks between weeks 6 and 10. But then again, each person is different, and this evolution is not identical in all women.

By way of comparison, in non-pregnant women, beta-hCG levels are below 5 milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml).

Checking the health of mother and baby

In addition to confirming the pregnancy, this blood test also checks for any infectious diseases that could threaten the baby's health, such as toxoplasmosis, rubella, syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Even in the absence of disease, it's important to maintain regular medical check-ups with a doctor or midwife!

How long does it take to get the blood test results?

The time required to obtain the results of a blood test may vary according to the laboratory where the test was performed.

Generally speaking, however, pregnancy blood test results arrive fairly quickly: around 12 hours after the blood sample has been taken, and sometimes even within the day! The most stressed of you should be reassured...

Pregnancy blood test FAQ

Is it possible to take a pregnancy blood test without a prescription?

Pregnancy blood tests do not require a prescription. But without a prescription, it will not be reimbursed by Social Security! You'll need to pay around 18 euros for the test.

What is the risk of a "false negative" with a pregnancy blood test?

Pregnancy blood tests are relatively reliable, but the risk of false negatives is very real. False negatives generally occur if the sample is taken too soon after conception, when levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) are too low. This is also the case if the blood test is misinterpreted or if insufficient blood is drawn.

Is the blood test reimbursed by Social Security and mutual insurance companies?

Pregnancy blood tests are reimbursed by Social Security and mutual insurance companies, provided you have a prescription from a doctor, gynecologist or midwife.

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The information contained in the articles on www-elia-lingerie.com is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.