What is a red blood cell count?

The red blood cell count is part of the complete blood count blood test ordered as a diagnostic and/or reference test. The red blood cell count is often referred to as RBC and complete blood count as CBC. CBC is one of the most common blood tests because doctors use the results to gauge overall health, target areas of concern and diagnose diseases and conditions. The RBC gives doctors the total red blood cell count present in the provided blood sample, which is a good indicator of total RBC count in the body.

The RBC count is not going to tell a doctor the specific cause of the abnormality if RBC numbers measure low or high, but it does tell the doctor there is a problem that needs to be further investigated.

Normal value range

  • Negative Pregnancy Adult: 4 to 5.2X106/mm3X106/µl or 4 to 5.2X1012/L
  • Pregnancy Trimester One: 3.42 to 4.55X106/mm3X106/µl or 3.42 to 4.55X1012/L
  • Pregnancy Trimester Two: 2.81 to 4.49X106/mm3X106/µl or 2.81 to 4.49X1012/L
  • Pregnancy Trimester Three: 2.72 to 4.43X106/mm3X106/µl or 2.72 to 4.43X1012/L

If the doctor ordering the CBC suspects there is an underlying problem with red blood cell numbers, additional tests such as an iron profile, blood smear or vitamin B12 testing may be ordered in conjunction with the CBC.

Read More:
Laboratory Values During Pregnancy
Prenatal Blood Tests on Your First Visit