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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Routine Tests during Pregnancy

Routine Tests during Pregnancy

It is necessary to undergo certain tests during pregnancy to ensure that both mother and baby are in good health. Read more about the routine pregnancy tests.

During pregnancy medical checkups along with screening tests are necessary which help in keeping the mother and child healthy. The mother also gains knowledge in counselling as to how to manage the different phases during her pregnancy. Through this prenatal care, the expecting mother gets guidance on eating, maintaining right type of physical activity, monitoring her health, screening test that she might need and what to expect during labour and the delivery.

Avoiding Extra Ultrasounds

Some expecting mothers like to get an ultrasound done for their scrapbook. Doctors do not recommend any unnecessary ultrasounds as they can cause harm to the mother and the unborn baby.

However there are a few required tests to ensure that the mother and the child are in good health. Some of the regular tests are as follows:

Blood Type and RH factor
  • Anaemia

  • Infections like toxoplasmosis

  • Sexually transmitted infections STIs such as Chlamydia, hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis

  • Signs that the expecting mother is immune to the German measles- rubella and chickenpox

  • There may be other recommended tests that as per age factor, Family health history  and results from the routine tests
Besides the tests mentioned above, there are other tests conducted to avoid complication, such as:

Amniocentesis Test

Amniocentesis test is conducted anytime between the 14th and the 20th week of pregnancy to diagnose whether the unborn is safeguarded from birth defects such as Down syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifidia. The test is conducted by drawing a very small amount of amniotic fluid with help of a fine needle. The sample is then sent to the lab for testing. The amniocentesis test is also to detect whether the parents are at higher risk for genetic disorders and also the test provides DNA for paternity testing.

Biophysical Profile BPP

This test is conducted in the third trimester to keep a tab on baby’s health and gives a feedback whether the baby should be delivered earlier. BPP includes an ultrasound that checks the baby’s breathing, heart rate, muscle tone, movement and the quantity of amniotic fluid. The test also involves another non stress test.

Chorionic Villus Sampling Test CVS

This test is conducted between the 10th and the 13th week of pregnancy. A small sample of cells are removed from the placenta with the aid of a needle to detect chromosomal disorders such as Down Syndrome and genetic disorders as cystic fibrosis, the test also provides DNA for paternity testing.

The First Trimester Screen

The first trimester screening test is conducted between the 11th and the 14th week of pregnancy. It includes the Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound test along with a blood test. The ultrasound checks the child for any chromosomal disorders such as Down Syndrome or trisomy 18 or even heart defects. The test also indicates the chances of multiple births. The blood test detects certain substances in the mother’s blood where as the ultrasound measures the back of the baby’s neck; both determine whether there is any risk to the foetus.

Glucose Challenge Screening

This test is conducted between the 26th to the 28th week of pregnancy. It detects whether the mother is in any danger of gestational diabetes. The test includes orally taking a special sugary drink provided by the doctor and a blood test is conducted an hour later to see whether the blood sugar levels have gone high or not. Depending upon the results, the doctor may recommend Glucose Tolerance Test

Glucose Tolerance Test

This test is conducted only if the doctor recommends after studying the results of the Glucose Challenge Screening. The purpose of this test is to find out how capable is the body of the expecting mother of processing sugar? The doctor may prescribe a certain diet for a few days before the test, which must be sincerely followed and, strictly water diet 14 hours prior to the test. Blood sample is collected after 14 hours of sampling to see the level of blood glucose on fasting. Then on, a special sugary drink is provided and after each dose of the drink, sugar level is tested every hour for the next three hours.

Group B Streptococuss

The test is conducted after 36 to 37 weeks to check for bacteria, responsible for causing pneumonia or serious infection to the baby. Cells from the vagina and the rectum are taken with help of a swab and are tested for the bacteria.

Maternal Serum Screen or Marker Screen or Triple screen or Quad Screen or Triple Test

The test is conducted between the 15th and the 20th week of pregnancy to detect high risk of chromosomal disorders, such as trisomy 18 and Down syndrome and Spina Bifidia - a neural tube defect. More tests may be prescribed depending upon the results. A blood sample is taken to search for certain substances that may be present in the mother’s blood.

Nonstress Test (NST)

This test is conducted in the 28th week of pregnancy to monitor the baby’s heart rate through a belt tied around the mother’s tummy. The test detects any signs of foetal distress done by the comparison of heart rate and baby’s movements, and indicates if the baby is not getting sufficient oxygen.

Ultrasound Examination

The ultrasound exams are not conducted in a routine but are commonly used by women between their 18th and 20th week so detect any problems in the baby’s organs, development and functioning of body system and correct growth. The exams are used for the First Trimester Screen and BPP (Biophysical profile). The doctor applies a gel around the expecting mother’s abdomen and presses and moves about a special device over the abdomen. The device uses sound waves to and displays internal pictures of the baby and its movements on a monitor.

Urine Test

The urine tests are used to detect Urinary Tract Infection, diabetes and preeclampsia in an expecting mother. A small sample is collected from clear midstream urine in a plastic container and is submitted for testing. The tests look for certain substances either through testing strips which are dipped in the sample or via an examination under a microscope.

Pregnancy is a testing phase which needs care and prenatal tests as prescribed by the doctor. These tests evaluate risk and help the doctor to recommend solutions to make the phase easier for the expecting mom and the delivery successful.

Which tests are necessary during pregnancy? How are birth defects detected during pregnancy? Which pregnancy tests are recommended for high risk pregnancies? Discuss here.

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