Laboratory tests to monitoring physiological pregnancy

Andrea Padoan


A series of profound physiological changes happen during pregnancy in women body, mainly to facilitate the proper growth and development of the embryo and fetus. These changes include every organ system in the body, causing hormonal and metabolic modifications and plasma volume increase. Laboratory medicine can simultaneously measure several biological constituents’ levels and, hence, tests play an essential role in monitoring physiological pregnancy as well as for detecting pathological alteration when present. Further, the assessment of laboratory parameters during pregnancy is considered as a part of the routine examination for pregnant women, and it is included in National and International Antenatal Care (ANC) programs. For this purpose, ANC screening programs usually include complete blood count, blood group and antibody screen as well as urine evaluation and measurement of glycemic conditions. Syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis are also usually evaluated to prevent transmission to the newborn. Appropriate pregnancy reference intervals are also needed to help clinicians to avoid interpreting normal results as pathological and to identify abnormal results.