Low Lymphocytes during Pregnancy

Low Lymphocytes during Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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When you want to get pregnant, or find out that you have conceived, it is imperative to take tests and get check-ups to find out the status of your health. One such test is a lymphocyte test. There is no ‘normal’ range of lymphocytes that a woman should have during her pregnancy, because generally, the number of lymphocytes a normal adult has differs from that in a pregnant woman. It further changes as the pregnancy progresses. Thus, it is important for a pregnant woman to find out and understand the levels of lymphocytes, what range is considered lymphocytes low during pregnancy, and how to take corrective action if required. In this article we have talked about what to do if you have lymphocytes low in pregnancy.

What Are Lymphocytes?

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells (WBCs), which are a part of our body’s immune system. These cells work in tandem with other WBCs to protect the body against specific attacks. The antibodies generated by the lymphocytes help the body fight against different types of viruses as well as cells that can turn out to be tumourous.

Lymphocytes are generated within the bone marrow of the body. For a child in the womb, they are produced in the form of non-differentiated liver cells below the mother’s heart. Extensive immune system development and signature recognition of external attacks depend primarily on lymphocytes. Within them, B-type lymphocytes help recognize which cells are harmful and need antibodies. The T-type lymphocytes work in controlling the immune response of the body, triggering it when necessary, and reducing it when not needed.

What Is the Normal Range of Lymphocytes in Blood?

The range of lymphocytes is an important means of detecting if your body is performing appropriately, or if it has low lymphocytes in blood during pregnancy. The normal range varies according to the presence and absence of pregnancy, as well as the different stages of it.

  • A normal adult range of lymphocytes lies between 0.7 – 4.6 x 109 per litre.
  • The first trimester of pregnancy starts pushing up the lower end at 1.1 – 3.6 x 109 per litre.
  • The second trimester of pregnancy establishes the normal range to be as 0.9 – 3.9 x 109 per litre.
  • The third and final trimester maintains a similar range between 1.0 – 3.6 x 109 per litre.

What Are the Possible Causes of Decreased Levels of Lymphocytes During Pregnancy?

The reduction of lymphocyte levels in a pregnant woman is a natural consequence of conception, and is a totally normal body process. When conception occurs, and the embryo is awaiting implantation into the uterus, the body makes adjustments within itself to allow this to happen without any hurdles. For the human body, a newly-created embryo within itself is an alien entity, so it is natural for the immune system to observe it as something harmful, and reject it. Therefore, the body ends up suppressing the immune system’s response by cutting down the lymphocyte count. This allows the embryo to be implanted successfully and grow into a foetus.

However, even when the lymphocyte count is reduced during this stage, the body still keeps the mother well-protected. Other entities, such as neutrophils, are activated, which temporarily take on the duties of protecting the body from external attacks.

The lymphocyte levels in the body tend to remain in the range as described earlier. However, if the levels seem to be outside that normal range at that particular stage of pregnancy, it might be caused by potentially harmful factors such as:

  • A Rhesus conflict, which, when occurring between the baby and the mother, may cause lymphocyte proportions to be abnormal.
  • Incompatibility of the tissues of the child and the mother, or paired with allergic reactions due to a variety of reasons.
  • Presence of an infection, which could be as dangerous as HIV.
  • A chronic condition of problems such as gastritis or bladder inflammation.
  • A deficiency of various minerals and vitamins, leaving the body at low nutrition levels.
  • A propensity for obesity, as well as constant use of drugs or alcohol.

Are There Any Complications Caused Due to Reduced Lymphocytes in Pregnant Women?

The human body is able to balance itself out, in order to adapt to external or internal changes, so that processes can keep functioning normally. While the suppression of lymphocytes is met with the generation of neutrophils and other entities to protect the body, the protection offered by them is not always successful. Following are the consequences of low lymphocytes while pregnant:

  • The very reduction of lymphocytes in the body can weaken the body of the mother, which is already combating a number of internal changes.
  • This weakness can make the body extra sensitive and vulnerable to external changes such as temperature fluctuations, atmospheric changes, air pollution, and so on.
  • Furthermore, since the (immunity) guards are down, any presence of the simplest microbes, which could be easily combated by a full-fledged immune system, can find their way within the body and lead to an illness or an infection.

Complications Caused Due to Reduced Lymphocytes in Pregnant Women

Can You Prevent the Consequences?

The reduction of lymphocytes during pregnancy cannot be changed, since it is a natural process that is extremely necessary for the baby to find a place for itself within the mother’s womb. However, before trying to get pregnant, it is highly recommended that both partners get fully examined to check for the presence of any diseases which ought to be treated immediately, as such a presence can put an extra load on the foetus and the weak body, which has to fight those infections along with keeping the body safe.

Diet adjustments, medicines, or supplements can be recommended to keep the mother’s body healthy, since the baby will be tapping into every energy reserve she has. Certain lifestyle adjustments, such as avoiding going to places where chances of infection are high, can keep you safe at all times. Consult with your doctor before taking supplements or medicines, or changing your diet.

Tips to Boost Immunity During Pregnancy

To boost your immunity during pregnancy, here are a few tips that you can follow:

  • A balanced diet consisting of cereals, vegetables, fruits, and lean meat can keep both the mother and baby healthy and safe.
  • Along with that, supplemental drugs might be recommended for supporting the immune system, such as Alphabet, Pregnavit, Elevit, and others. However, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor before taking any of these.

It is important not to be worried about a low lymphocyte count when pregnancy sets in, as it is a natural process. Nevertheless, a check-up for the same should be done. Pregnancy will bring a lot of changes to your body, but nothing that you can’t handle. While the body’s need to reduce its immunity to help your child find a home in your womb is inevitable, you can face this change without exposing your body to external harm. Appropriate measures, such as eating a healthy diet and altering some lifestyle habits, can help keep you and your baby safe.


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2. Lymphocytes; my.clevelandclinic.org; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23342-lymphocytes

3. Surabhi Chandra, Anil Kumar Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, et.al; Physiological Changes in Hematological Parameters During Pregnancy; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3422383/; September 2012

4. ​LYMPHOCYTE; National Human Genome Research Institute; https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Lymphocyte

5. Gökçen ÖRGÜL, Burcu SOYAK, Oytun PORTAKAL, et.al; Total Blood Lymphocyte Count Alteration During and after Pregnancy; Research Gate; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309164924_Total_Blood_Lymphocyte_Count_Alteration_During_and_after_Pregnancy; October 2016

Also Read: 

Low Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Complete Blood Count Test during Pregnancy
Low Amniotic Fluid (Oligohydramnios) while Pregnant

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