High Leukocyte Causes in Pregnant Women

The number of white blood cells or leukocytes can vary depending on age and body condition, including pregnancy. Pregnant women generally have high levels of leukocytes. This can be seen in the results of routine blood tests during pregnancy.

Leukocytes are part of the body's immune system that functions to fight infection. Therefore, increasing the number of leukocytes is often associated with infection. But in pregnancy, the number of leukocytes can increase even though there is no infection. This is caused by various changes in the body of pregnant women.

Reasons for High Leukocytes in Pregnant Women

Normal leukocyte count is 5,000-10,000 cells per microliter of blood. High leukocytic conditions (leukocytosis) are when the white blood cell count exceeds 10,000 cells per microliter. But during pregnancy, the number of leukocytes can increase to 6,000-13,000 cells per microliter. This condition starts from the first trimester and increases gradually until the last trimester.

The main reason for the increase in leukocytes in pregnant women is physical stress (biological burden) during pregnancy. Physical stress arises in response to changes that occur in the body of pregnant women, including the workload of the heart, digestive system, metabolism, and even bone density.Physical stress stimulates the production of white blood cells to boost immunity. The leukocyte count will be higher when approaching and during labor. Even so, you don't need to worry, because this doesn't harm the fetus.

High Leukocytes Conditions for Pregnant Women to Be Aware of

Although generally an increase in the number of leukocytes in pregnant women is a normal condition, there are a number of conditions that need to be watched out for and require treatment by doctors, such as:

  • Having infections and allergic reactionsWhen pregnant women experience infection, both due to viruses, bacteria, and parasites, the number of leukocytes can increase to exceed the normal limit. This occurs as a response to the body's defense against the cause of infection. Similarly, when pregnant women experience allergies, the number of leukocytes can increase to above normal values.

  • Taking certain drugsSome pregnant women may need special treatment to help ripen fetal organs, especially pregnant women who are at risk of giving birth prematurely. In this condition, pregnant women will be given corticosteroid drugs, such as dexamethasone, which can increase leukocyte levels.

  • Having complications from pregnancyPregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, can also increase the number of leukocytes during pregnancy. This happens because these conditions trigger an inflammatory process in the body, which then stimulates leukocyte production. The more severe the condition of preeclampsia, the higher the number of leukocytes in the body of pregnant women.

  • Is a symptom of a tumor or cancerTumors and cancer can be a cause of high leukocytes in pregnant women. Leukocyte levels can even increase to more than 100,000 cells per microliter of blood. This situation can be a sign of bone marrow leukemia or cancer in pregnant women.

High leukocytes are a condition that is common in pregnant women. However, high leukocytes accompanied by fever, visual disturbances, breathing, or digestion, need to get medical attention immediately. This is important to prevent dangerous risks in pregnant women and fetuses.

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