Pregnancy is one of the significant phases in the life of women. Taking best care of yourself, and your baby becomes very important in this crucial time. Your doctor may advise you to perform a wide range of tests, imaging methods, and screenings, during the pregnancy. These tests provide information pertaining to the health of the baby and help in optimizing the prenatal development, and care of the baby. We have made a list of all commonly performed tests performed before and during pregnancy.
Genetic screening: This is an important pre-screening test that detects any signs of genetic disorders in parents before birth. This test is important to perform if you have had delivered a baby with genetic abnormalities in the past.
Types of genetic disorders that are diagnosed in this test are sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, Hemophilia A, Cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, Tay-Sachs disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and many other genetic disorders.
CBC: The ‘CBC’ stands for Complete Blood Test. It is done before conception or at the beginning of pregnancy. This test tells you about several factors such as the number of RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, platelet count, and hematocrit.
First Trimester Screening: This screening is performed in the 1st trimester to determine risks of birth defects in the fetus. Maternal serum test, and ultrasound are performed as a part of this screening.
Maternal serum tests: This blood test measures the levels of two important substances present in the blood of pregnant women. These are Pregnancy-linked plasma protein and Human chorionic gonadotropin. Abnormal levels of these substances indicate chances of chromosomal abnormality.
Second trimester prenatal screening: Several tests are performed at this stage to ensure that the baby is free from risks related to birth defects, or specific genetic conditions.
Ultrasound: Ultrasounds are carried out at different stages in the pregnancy to check fetal growth, estimate due date and also identify any signs of abnormalities in the structure of the fetus. This diagnostic technique makes use of high-frequency sound waves for forming images of the organs in the body.
Reasons to perform ultrasounds during pregnancy
Ultrasounds is performed at various stages of pregnancy for different objectives:
- To determine the due date
- To find out the number of fetuses present in the womb along with their placental structures
- To detect miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy
- To evaluate the condition of uterus
- To diagnose any abnormalities related to fetus
Mid trimester test (carried out in the eighteenth to twentieth week of pregnancy)
- To confirm the pregnancy due date
- To confirm the number of fetuses and their placental structures
- To aid in prenatal tests, like an amniocentesis
- To evaluate the fetal anatomy for any abnormalities
- To detect the levels of amniotic fluid
- To evaluate patterns of blood circulation
- To observe fetal activity, and behavior
- To measure the cervix length
- To monitor the development of fetus
- To supervise the development of fetus
- To examine the levels of amniotic fluid
- To perform the “biophysical profile test”
- To check the fetus position
- To evaluate the placenta
The process of amniocentesis includes taking some amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. This fluid is used for the determination of neural tube defects, and chromosomal disorders in the body.
This test is performed between the fifteenth and twentieth week of pregnancy. It is mostly done in women who are over 35 years, and are prone to chromosomal abnormalities, and was found with an irregular maternal blood serum screening test before.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
This is a prenatal test that is performed in placental tissue. This tissue has got the same type of genetic material as that of the fetus. This test checks for any genetic issues, and chromosomal abnormalities.
This test monitors the heart rate, and its rhythm in fetus. It is performed in later months of pregnancy. Any abnormal pattern in the heart rhythm, and rate implies that the fetus isn’t getting adequate levels of oxygen, and also indicate an urgent cesarean delivery.
This test measures the sugar levels in the blood. It is performed between twenty-four and twenty eighth week of pregnancy. Any abnormality found in this level indicates gestational diabetes.
Group B Strep Culture
Group B streptococcus is a form of bacteria that is present in the lower region of genital tract. It can lead to infections in the urinary tract, and can result in pyelonephritis, sepsis, or preterm labor. This test is performed between thirty-fifth and thirty-seventh week of gestation.
Also read: Blood Donation In Pregnancy; Is It Safe
The wide range of tests conducted during pregnancy can confuse you at first, but you need to know that it is critical to monitor your and your baby’s health. health of a person. They are the best ways to feel reassured of a safe and healthy pregnancy.