It might seem that pregnancy is all about a battery of tests and you are a guinea pig giving into it without knowing anything about the tests you are undergoing. In order to feel more involved in the entire process, it is a wide idea to know all about the tests and their significance. Most of these prenatal tests are performed to rule put fetal abnormalities while some others are performed to determine the condition of maternal health if any health condition is diagnosed. The tests are listed below:
1. The 12 week Ultrasound Examination
Although this test is performed anywhere between 10 to 14 weeks of gestation, the average point is 12 weeks of pregnancy when it is mostly performed. This is carried out in the early weeks of pregnancy to check fetal gestational age by measuring the crown-rump length. It is also known as the Nuchal Translucency test. It rules out major abnormalities or problems like Down’s syndrome etc. by checking the thickness of the skin at the back of your baby’s neck. A few of these scans could have unclear vision and the doctor might need to perform a vaginal scan to be clearer.
2. First Trimester Blood Tests
Blood works between 16-18 weeks are carried out in order to rule out baby’s risk for Down’s syndrome and spina bifida. These blood tests are also done to check your blood type and to rule out Rhesus Negativity1. A complete blood count will test for iron deficiency and if you are found to be deficient, you will be given oral supplements. If you have a family history of diabetes or are at a high-risk for it, you will also be given a glucose challenge test to find out if you could develop Gestational diabetes later in the pregnancy.
3. Triple Marker Test
This test is performed to look for three substances in the hormones and proteins in your blood that come from your baby or the placenta. The doctors look for a particular amount of these substances that, if present, might denote a birth defect or genetic abnormality in the baby. This test is usually recommended in the second trimester.
4. Anomaly Scan
An anomaly scan is carried out in the second trimester. The purpose of the scan is to check your baby’s growth and development and also to locate the position of the placenta in your uterus. The sonographer will also look for abnormalities like cleft lip, misaligned spine, and proper formation of the abdominal wall, kidneys, arms, legs and feet. The position of your placenta will be shown in this ultrasound examination and yor doctor will be able to advise you according to the positioning.
All these screening tests are important and their significance should never be doubted because prevention is always better than cure. These are the general tests that are recommended. A few other advanced screening tests or scans are also recommended if doctors suspect abnormalities. You will be informed about your prenatal tests at every visit so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.