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Does pregnancy cause an increase in the total leukocyte count (TLC)?

Q: I am 12 weeks pregnant. When we carried out the TLC blood test, the count was 13,500 whereas it should be less than 11,000. Is there any abnormality in the total leukocyte count (TLC)? What are the reasons for this increased count? I had no fever, infection, etc. during the pregnancy or before it. I have not consumed any medicines other than Folvite. Till when should I continue to consume Folvite and when should I start Iron/Calcium? A recent article in a newspaper shows children born to a mother, who had taken iron tablets, have less intelligence, etc. Is that true?

A:The total leukocyte count rises after exercise, strong emotional reactions, during pain, pregnancy, and labour; and also during many disease states, such as infections and intoxications. Your TLC is normal. Please do not go by articles read in the lay press but the advice of your doctor - continue to take iron and folic acid tablets. This along with calcium supplements will need to be taken till you breast feed the baby.

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