Blood tests at your first antenatal visit

Full Blood Count/ Haemoglobin

This measures the cells in the blood and its main purpose is to detect anaemia.  If you are anaemic you will need extra iron during your pregnancy.

Blood Group

This test tells you to which ABO and Rhesus blood group you belong.  This is important if you need a transfusion and can help prevent problems for the baby.


This test will detect whether you are immune to the rubella (German Measles) virus.  Most Irish adults are immune.  If you are not immune you will be given advice on how to avoid contact with rubella.  You can also have immunisation after your baby is born.


This is a blood test to detect syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease which is exceptionally rare.  However, a person can have the disease without knowing it.  It can have serious effects on your baby if not treated (with penicillin) during pregnancy.


HIV infection can be passed on from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or at delivery.  If we know that a mother is infected with HIV special treatment can be given to make it less likely that her baby will become infected.  Treatment can reduce the chance of your baby being infected by about 66%.  The treatment also helps to protect your own health.  Possible extra tests which may be requested:

Hepatitis B

This is a virus which particularly attacks the liver.  There is not routine screening for it in Ireland, but if you think you have put yourself at risk of infection through unprotected sex with an infected person through injecting drug use you should consider having the test, as there is risk of up to 90% of passing it on to your baby.  Treatment is available which reduces the risk to less than 5%.

You may also be tested for Hepatitis C.

Repeat tests

Sometimes the first blood sample is inadequate and it is necessary to call people back in for another blood test.  You will be contacted if this is necessary in your case.