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Is my TLC count normal?

Q: I am in the seventh month of my pregnancy. My TLC counts have been 22,000; neither increasing, nor decreasing. I have no symptoms of fever, etc. My doctor had given injectable antibiotic treatment for seven days, but even after taking the medication, my counts are the same. Is there any cause of worry?

A:Pregnancy leads to many functional (physiological) and structural (anatomical) changes in the body. They occur due to the (a) needs of the developing baby, placenta and the uterus and (b) increasing levels of pregnancy hormones especially progesterone and oestrogen. Physiological leukocytosis (increase in white blood cells) refers to a total leukocyte count above the normal, without the association of any known disease process. It is documented that the number of leukocytes in peripheral blood increases considerably during pregnancy. The WBC count may increase up to 15,000/µl (or even higher during labour and following delivery). The total mass of WBCs also increases to fill the increased blood volume. The reason for the increase in WBCs is unknown but is probably a hormonal response. In case you have no fever, sore throat, urinary problem or other symptoms suggestive of an infection, these counts are normal.

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