Prenatal Testing During Pregnancy
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll likely be poked, prodded, and pressed by practitioners more than ever before. Fortunately, nearly all of those prenatal screenings and tests (like blood tests, urinalysis, and ultrasounds) are routine, pain-free, and absolutely beneficial.
Prenatal tests offer the most accurate view possible of your and your baby’s health to catch any pregnancy complications early. Some prenatal tests might be life-saving. Others provide information that will tell you more about how your baby is developing, like whether he or she may have a genetic condition. But the overwhelming majority will confirm that everything is simply fine — or are often made so with simple, standard follow-up care. Discuss early together with your doctor what tests are right for you so you’ll schedule them during the right times in your pregnancy.
Types of prenatal tests & screenings
You start off your pregnancy testing by peeing on a persist with an at-home pregnancy test. From there on out, you’ll continue by peeing in a cup at just about every prenatal visit. Why? Urinalysis helps your doctor or midwife check you for two potentially dangerous pregnancy complications: high blood pressure (aka preeclampsia) and gestational diabetes. Both are treatable but are often dangerous if they’re not identified — and providing a urine sample is risk-free. So drink up before each appointment!
At your first prenatal visit, you’ll be asked to offer up your arm for a blood sample, which can be tested for conditions that would affect your pregnancy and delivery. Your provider will check for anemia alongside your blood group, hCG levels, antibody titers, immunity to certain diseases, and rh factor (another condition that will be easily managed as long as your provider knows about it in advance). you’ll also receive screening for cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and other genetic conditions if you weren’t screened before conception.
Your gynecologist might do a Pap test at your first prenatal appointment to screen for abnormal cervical cells. You will also likely be screened for sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, HIV, and chlamydia. If you test positive for a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe pregnancy-safe antibiotics for you and possibly your partner — because if you give birth with an untreated infection, your baby is at risk of dangerous infections, including pneumonia.
Noninvasive prenatal test (NIPT), nuchal translucency screening (NT), and quad screen
These tests could also be offered to you sometime between weeks 10 to 15 (though NIPT is often given any time after week 9). They screen for — but don’t diagnose — chromosomal abnormalities (such as Down syndrome). NT screening is basically a specialized ultrasound. It’s often combined with NIPT and therefore the quad screen, which both use a blood sample. meaning all three poses virtually no risk to you and your baby. However, they’re not necessary or recommended for everybody. Your health care provider may suggest getting one or more if you’re 35 or over, or if you’ve got a family history of chromosomal disorders.
CVS and amniocentesis
If a NIPT, NT, or quad screen shows that your baby features an above usual risk surely congenital conditions, your health care provider might recommend a more invasive diagnostic assay like chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis (which one partly depends on how far along you’re in your pregnancy). These tests take samples of placental or amniotic material to seem at the particular genetic makeup of your baby, in order that they are more accurate in detecting chromosomal abnormalities like mongolism and, within the case of the amnio, neural tube defects. They carry a really minimal risk of miscarriage, so you’ll decide if you would like to require them. lecture a genetic counselor may assist you to make a decision.
A glucose screening is suggested for virtually all moms between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy check for gestational diabetes — which affects up to an estimated 10 percent of all expecting women. You’ll drink a special sugary beverage that tastes like flat soda then have your blood glucose tested by giving a blood sample. If the test reveals that your blood glucose is above expected, you’ll take a second glucose tolerance test that involves fasting for a minimum of 8
hours before drinking another sugary liquid and having your blood tested several times over a 3-hour period to confirm the diagnosis.
Group B strep test
About 25 percent of ladies have group B strep, a kind of bacteria, within the vagina and rectum. If you do, it’s harmless to you but could cause an infection in your baby when he or she is exposed to the bacteria during childbirth. Your practitioner will offer this risk-free test toward the end of your pregnancy, which involves swabbing your vagina and rectum during a pelvic exam.
What you would like to understand about prenatal testing
While testing is often stressful, information is often powerful — especially when it comes to your or your baby’s health. The results of these tests will allow you to form better health care decisions, and in many cases get treatment to solve or manage unexpected conditions.
Ease test stress by communicating openly together with your doctor or midwife. Ask what tests and screenings they decide to conduct and when. confirm you understand which of them are routine and which of them are optional (or “opt-in”). Although most are covered by insurance, some aren’t if you’re not considered high-risk, so get that information upfront.
And don’t be afraid to ask many questions at every prenatal visit. Your practitioner has done these tests a thousand times and should accidentally forget to go over all the details. Speak up and ask what screening is for if you’re confused, how it’ll work, any risks related to it, and once you can expect results. Your relationship together with your doctor or midwife should be a partnership, so take a lively part in it.