A consultation with a fertility doctor includes a comprehensive examination, history and physical. Often, a fertility specialist/reproductive endocrinologist will recommend a set of blood tests including hormone levels to help evaluate overall health and how it may impact fertility.
By collecting blood samples in a series of tubes, lab tests can be done to determine a health and hormonal baseline for a patient. One of the most common lab tests is a CBC (complete blood count) that helps check overall health by evaluating red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
It is not uncommon for women to experience a mild form of anemia and iron deficiency can lead to anovulation (no eggs released during a menstrual cycle). Approximately 20% of women develop anemia during pregnancy and about 12% of women between ages of 12 and 49 years have a mild anemia (Harvard Health Pub: Dec, 2014). If anemia is suspected, additional labs may be drawn and/or over-the-counter supplements may be recommended.
Common symptoms of anemia include:
– Cold hands and feet.
– Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
– Chest heaviness
– Rapid heartbeat
– Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
– Leg cramps
There are various types of anemia that can be detected through lab work.
An anemia panel may include:
- CBC – a complete blood count that helps check overall health by evaluating red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
- Ferritin – a blood cell protein that contains iron. A ferritin level reveals how much iron your body is storing. If the ferritin level is low, it indicates poor iron stores and iron deficiency.
- Vit B12 and Folate – Producers of red blood cells, low levels help differentiate the type of anemia upon diagnosis such as pernicious anemia a malabsorption of b12 due to a lack of intrinsic factor.
Fear of getting blood drawn is very common and can deter women from seeking fertility treatment.
Here are a few helpful tips to alleviate worries over getting blood drawn:
- Share your concern and be honest with the lab tech/nurse. They are often experts at distraction.
- Look away or close your eyes. Visual imagery can be an excellent coping skill in times of stress. Create a visual image to focus on and remember it should only take a minute or two to complete the blood draw.
- Do not hold your breath. Practice on breathing throughout the procedure.
- Stay warm because low temperature can make it more difficult to insert the needle accurately into the vein.
- Remind yourself that you are taking a step toward your wellness and/or family-building goals and you can do it. Yes, you can!
Here at Metro Drugs, we carry the highest quality vitamins and supplements and can fill all prescriptions based on your health and wellness needs. Give us a call at 212.794.7200 to see how we can help you save not only on your fertility medications, but conveniently ship all across the country.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.
Linda Scruggs BSN, RN has specialized for 15 years in fertility, reproductive medicine, and women’s health. As a nurse, patient educator, and solo mother of two children, she shares personal experience with high-risk pregnancies. Connect with Linda on Instagram at @metrointegrative and @unboxedmom where she serves as a resource to empower and educate women seeking wellness for themselves and their families.