Should You Worry About The High White Blood Cell Count During Pregnancy
A high white blood cell count is no reason to panic unless it goes beyond the normal range. The unit of measure of white blood cell count is the number per microliter . The normal range is different in various laboratories. However, it often ranges between 4,500 and 10,000 per microliter. In the case of a pregnant woman in her third trimester, WBC of between 12,000 and 18,000 per mcL is still normal.
High white blood cell count in pregnancy is common as the bodys immune system adjusts to support the woman and her unborn baby. Production of white blood cells rises even more as the woman nears the time for childbirth. However, some specific conditions may cause a rise in white blood cells. In case you get other symptoms such as fever, pain, bleeding, fainting or weight loss, you need to consult a doctor without delay.
Note that conditions such as the following require attention:
Stress can cause a rise in white blood cells. In pregnancy, the body exposed to emotional stress or physical stress produces more white blood cells as a way to protect itself. Whenever possible, avoid such stressing conditions and manage any stress through meditation or physical exercise.
4. Leukemia or Autoimmune Disease
Do I Have To Screen My Baby For Downs Syndrome
Every woman, young or old, has a chance of having a baby with either a chromosomal abnormality or an anatomic abnormality . In fact, about 4% of all babies born have some sort of major or minor abnormality. As you get older, your risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality increases.
While your health care provider will discuss the various options for prenatal screening with you, it is completely up to you to decide what you would like to do. What you do with the test results is also completely up to you. I strongly believe that knowledge is a good thing, even if you would never consider terminating a pregnancy, I still counsel my patients about their options, including further testing like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. If you were to know beforehand that you had a baby with Down syndrome, Spina Bifida or an abnormal heart, it may impact on our recommendations for how and where you deliver so that the baby can get the best care possible after delivery.
Causes Of High White Blood Cell Count When Pregnant
Every body and every pregnancy is different. There is no one definitive cause for having a high white blood cell count during pregnancy. Just as your body produces as much sweat as it needs to cool you down after exercising or in hot weather, your body produces however many white blood cells it needs to stay healthy.
Most of the reasons that pregnant women might have abnormally high white blood cell counts are why people usually have a higher white blood cell count. Some of those common causes are:
1. Pregnancy itself
There is a lot of stress that comes with pregnancy, both mentally and physically, which can increase white blood cells. When pregnant, it is important to relax and allow yourself time and space to de-stress, both for your body and your mind.
Because white blood cells are part of your immune system, any infection can cause you to have a higher white blood cell count. Anything from a cold to an eye infection will cause your white blood cell count to go up.
3. Autoimmune disease or inflammation
If you have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, it causes your body to produce high volumes of white blood cells. Similarly, if you have any inflammation or allergic reaction, your white blood cell count will increase.
Leukemia or cancer of the blood starts with bone marrow producing a specific kind of white blood cell. Thusly a higher rate of these indicates that you might have leukemia.
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Establishment Of Reference Intervals
The complete blood count data of the selected reference cohort were retrieved from the Sysmex XN9000 analysis system, and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23.0 software . Based on the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institution guideline recommendations of the inclusion of 120 reference subjects for the establishment of reference intervals, we randomly assigned 138 cases of 158 twin-pregnant women as the reference cohort. The CBC parameters of these pregnancies at each time point were entered into an Excel database and sorted in ascending order. Reference intervals were established using nonparametric analysis . The identification of possible outliers was performed using box plot analysis. According to CLSI/NCCLS C28-A2, outliers were excluded from each group when the D/R ratio was over 1/3, where D is the absolute difference between an extreme value and the next largest value, and R is the range of all observations.
How To Prepare For A Wbc Count
A WBC count requires no specific preparation. You simply schedule an appointment with a doctor or set up an appointment at a local medical laboratory.
Certain medications can interfere with your lab results and either lower or increase your WBC count. Drugs that may affect your test results can include:
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Why Neutrophils Are High During Pregnancy
Neutrophils increase in the bloodstream during pregnancy because of the changes happening in the body. You can think of neutrophils as first responders. Any time your immune system detects a foreign body, it sends neutrophils to the blood. A release of neutrophils can trigger inflammation in the body.
A typical range of white blood cells in healthy adults is 4,500 to 11,000 neutrophils per microliter. Any value above 11,000 neutrophils per microliter is considered a high white blood cell count . During pregnancy, the white blood cell count usually increases to a range of 13,200 to 15,900 neutrophils per microliter. Most of the increased white blood cells in the bloodstream are neutrophils.
After a vaginal delivery, the WBC count drops to about 12,620 neutrophils per microliter. The value after a cesarean section is about 12,710 neutrophils per microliter.
Newborns also have higher WBC counts than most healthy adults. A typical range for a newborn baby is 13,000 to 38,000 neutrophils per microliter. A normal range for a 2-week-old is 5,000 to 20,000 neutrophils per microliter. The number of white blood cells in the blood decrease throughout childhood until it reaches a normal adult range of 4,500 to 1,000 neutrophils per microliter.
- Any weight loss
- Breathing difficulties
How Is Leukocytosis Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will perform an exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Theyll also order a complete blood count . This common blood test checks for red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in your blood. A CBC can tell your healthcare provider if you have certain conditions or infections. In some cases, you might need a bone marrow test to confirm your diagnosis.
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What Happens If Wbc Count Is High In Pregnancy
The white blood cell count in a blood test indicates the status of our immune system. An increased level of white blood cell count often indicates that there is a bacterial or viral infection in our body. High white blood cell count can also be the result of disorders of the immune system, blood and autoimmune system. Symptoms which a person can experience with a high WBC count include headache, dizziness and localized inflammation. Sometimes, women can have high white blood cell count in pregnancy. The question is, is it a cause for worry?
Having a high white blood cell count in pregnancy is quite common. This is because the immune system of the body has to adjust itself to support the mother and her unborn baby. The production of white blood cells further increases when the mother nears her time for birth due to increased physiologic stress. However, there are also certain conditions which can lead to an increase in the white blood cells and patient or a pregnant mother should consult her obstetrician if she is experiencing symptoms, such as pain, fever, weight loss, fainting and bleeding.
What Can Cause Spotting During Pregnancy
There are a variety of things that can cause spotting during pregnancy. The most common cause is implantation bleeding, which happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. This type of bleeding is usually light and occurs around 10 to 14 days after conception. Other causes of spotting during pregnancy include:
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What Happens If You Have High Wbc Count In Pregnancy
As the immune system adjusts itself to your little one growing inside, you can expect the white blood cell count to increase at different intervals. This is nothing out of the ordinary and any thought of a grave medical emergency needs to be dismissed immediately.
However, if there are symptoms such as fever, hypertension, acute stress or any other immunity-related problems, do visit the doctor immediately.
Infectious Causes Of Anemia
Infectious cause of anemia are more common in nonindustrialized countries. Anemia can be caused by infections such as parvovirus B-19, cytomegalovirus , HIV, hepatitis viruses, Epstein-Barr virus , malaria, babesiosis, bartonellosis, hookworm infestation, and Clostridium toxin. If the patients history suggests exposure to any of these infectious agents, appropriate laboratory studies should be performed.
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Sickle Cell Hemoglobinopathies In Pregnancy
Sickle cell hemoglobinopathies include those abnormalities resulting from an alteration in the structure, function, or production of hemoglobin . Hemoglobin S results from substitution of thymine for adenine in the beta-globin gene, which leads to the substitution of the neutral amino acid valine for the negatively charged glutamic acid at the sixth position from the N terminus in the beta chain. Hemoglobin C results from substitution of lysine for glutamic acid.
HbAS is also known as sickle cell trait and occurs in 1 in 12 African Americans. HbS is also found in other populations, such as Greeks, Italians , Turks, Arabs, Southern Iranians, and Asian Indians.
Major sickle disorders with severe clinical symptoms include sickle cell anemia , sickle cell hemoglobin C disease, and sickle cell beta-thalassemia . HbSS is the most common of these, occurring in 1 in 625 African Americans. Minor disorders include hemoglobin C disease , hemoglobin SE , hemoglobin SD , and hemoglobin S-Memphis . Heterozygosity for hemoglobin A and hemoglobin S is the most common disorder. These hemoglobinopathies are diagnosed by hemoglobin electrophoresis.
Organs affected by chronic sickling include the spleen, lungs, kidneys, heart, and brain. Patients with sickle cell anemia are functionally asplenic. Therefore, immunization for encapsulated organisms is recommended. Likewise, aggressive treatment should be instituted when encapsulated bacterial infections are diagnosed in sickle cell disease.
What Are White Blood Cells
The cells within the immune system are white blood cells. They shield the body against alien particles and kill any element that might cause harm to the body. Scientifically known as leukocytes, these cells are found throughout the body. Hence, these become an indicator of how physically fit, unfit, or sick one is.
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Why White Blood Cell Counts Are High During Pregnancy
A number of natural changes occur during pregnancy, from sense of smell, food cravings, and even internally. Among the internal changes that occur during pregnancy is white blood cell counts. White blood cells protect against infection, and during pregnancy, a high white cell count is not uncommon, and its typically not a sign of anything serious.
Treatments For High White Blood Cell Count When Pregnant
Having a higher-than-average white blood cell count is very likely when you are pregnant. It is incredibly stressful physically and mentally to be pregnant. Understand that your body is going through many changes and make sure to get adequate rest.
If you have a preexisting condition or develop a condition that makes you have a higher-than-normal amount of white blood cells, talk to your doctor.
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What Are The Treatment Options For Low Red Blood Cells
Treatment for anemia can range from nutritional supplements to blood transfusions depending on the cause and severity. In some situations, a doctor may employ supplemental therapies, such as intravenous fluids and pain medicines, to alleviate pain and prevent problems.
- For patients with iron deficiency anemia, doctors frequently recommend an iron supplement and dietary adjustments to counteract low iron.
- For other deficiencies, doctors may prescribe vitamin B12, vitamin C, or folic acid supplements.
- Severe cases or those caused by an underlying ailment, however, may necessitate additional treatments, such as a blood transfusion or a bone marrow transplant.
- Transfusions of blood are a common and efficient treatment for several kinds of anemia. During a transfusion, clinicians utilize an intravenous line to deliver blood from a suitable donor to a patient. This can replenish the lost blood or increase the number of cells or platelets in the bloodstream, making it a versatile treatment option for a wide range of illnesses. Rarely, blood transfusions can result in an allergic reaction or bloodborne illness.
A doctor may advise you to take specific medications to increase red blood cell production or to minimize iron overload caused by frequent transfusions.
- Iron deficiency anemia:
Malignant Causes Of Leukocytosis
âLeukocytosis can also signal malignant disorders, especially leukemias or other blood cancers. Doctors look at several factors when considering this diagnosis.â
Symptoms. Fever, night sweats, and weight loss are three symptoms that suggest a malignant cause of leukocytosis. Doctors also look for evidence of bleeding or easy bruising. Fatigue may be present.
Physical examination. Doctors check for swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged liver, and an enlarged spleen. They also look for petechiae, pinpoint spots caused by bleeding under the skin.â
Lab results. Blood cancers are the typical cause of white blood counts over 30,000 per microliter. Some of the cells may be immature. Other counts, such as red blood cells and platelets, may be low.
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Complications And Risk Factors Associated With A High Wbc Count
Blood cancers and autoimmune diseases that cause overproduction of abnormal white blood cells can cause susceptibility to infections and impaired healing from injuries or diseases.
Sometimes, a high white blood cell count is accompanied by anemia . This happens when bone marrow disease thats causing overproduction of white blood cells also causes underproduction of red blood cells.
Purpose Of A White Blood Cell Count
A WBC count is often done as part of a CBC. These tests may be ordered as part of a routine blood test.
White blood cells, also called leukocytes, are an important part of the immune system. They originate in the bone marrow but move throughout the bloodstream. These cells help fight infection by attacking bacteria, viruses, and germs that invade the body.
A white blood cell count can detect hidden infections within your body and alert doctors to undiagnosed medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, and blood disorders. This test also helps doctors monitor the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and other therapies in people with cancer.
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How Is Leukocytosis Treated
Treatment for leukocytosis varies depending on what caused the condition in the first place. For example, if you have a high white blood cell count due to a bacterial infection, then your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics. If leukocytosis is associated with an allergic reaction, then youll probably need antihistamines. Other common high white blood cell count treatments include:
- Medications to reduce stress or anxiety.
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
- IV fluids to improve blood flow.
- Leukapheresis, a procedure to quickly reduce the number of white blood cells in your blood.
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or stem cell transplants.
In some cases, your white blood cell count may return to normal without intervention.
Types Of Anemia During Pregnancy
Several types of anemia can develop during pregnancy. These include:
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Here’s why these types of anemia may develop:
Iron-deficiency anemia. This type of anemia occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron to produce adequate amounts of hemoglobin. That’s a protein in red blood cells. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
In iron-deficiency anemia, the blood cannot carry enough oxygen to tissues throughout the body.
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in pregnancy.
Folate-deficiency anemia. Folate is the vitamin found naturally in certain foods like green leafy vegetables A type of B vitamin, the body needs folate to produce new cells, including healthy red blood cells.
During pregnancy, women need extra folate. But sometimes they don’t get enough from their diet. When that happens, the body can’t make enough normal red blood cells to transport oxygen to tissues throughout the body. Man made supplements of folate are called folic acid.
Folate deficiency can directly contribute to certain types of birth defects, such as neural tube abnormalities and low birth weight.
Blood loss during and after delivery can also cause anemia.
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White Blood Cell Count In Pregnancy
White blood cell counts are a good indicator of immune system function. Elevated white blood cell counts can indicate bacterial or viral infection, though bacterial is more common. Other causes of elevated counts include an autoimmune disorder, deficient immune system, and blood disorder. Common symptoms of high white blood cell count include headache, dizziness and possible localized symptoms of inflammation.
Patients with lower than normal white blood cell counts are considered unhealthy. Low counts can be contributed to sepsis, autoimmune disorders, lymphoma or conditions that affect bone marrow function.
The test is nearly always ordered as part of a complete blood count, or CBC. CBCs are typically ordered as part of a yearly physical exam and used as a diagnostic tool.