Pregnancy is a time when most parents are extremely cautious about their general health and well-being. They pay more attention to their diet and overall health. To make sure that a pregnancy is going on smoothly, doctors recommend several tests throughout the nine months. If you’re a new mom, here are some important prenatal tests and what to expect when you’re expecting:
FIRST TRIMESTER TESTS
Here are some of the most common test in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
1. Urine Test
The very first test that you will do, is to confirm your pregnancy. This is the first of many urine tests where your urine sample will be used to measure your hCG levels. The subsequent urine samples are required to check for urinary tract infections, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
2. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
This test can help diagnose chromosomal and genetic disorders by removing a small amount of cells from the placenta. This test does carry a small risk of miscarriage and infection, and is usually performed at 10 to 13 weeks. Speak to your doctor about it before getting this test done. You can ask about the entire procedure and associated risks if any.
3. First-trimester screen
Also known as a sequential screening, this is a standard exam offered at 11 to 14 weeks. It is a non-invasive way to pinpoint potential disorders. Here, the mother is required to submit a blood sample and an ultrasound is used to measure the back of the fetus’ neck. If the doctor detects anything abnormal, he may recommend another test such as an amniocentesis or CVS screening.
SECOND TRIMESTER TESTS
Here are some important tests in the second trimester of your pregnancy:
Performed at 14 to 20 weeks, amniocentesis can diagnose a wide range of birth defects such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and spina bifida, by testing a small amount of amniotic fluid. Many mothers are hesitant to get this test done because of the risk of miscarriage. Talk to our doctors at KIMS Cuddles and find out if you are at a higher risk, or if your sequential screening indicates an abnormality.
5. Maternal Serum or Triple Test
This is a blood test which is done to detect chromosomal disorders and neural tube defects between 15 to 20 weeks.
Although an ultrasound can be done at any point, doctors ask it to be done between 18 and 20 weeks to ensure that the baby is growing well. This is non-invasive and not painful.
THIRD TRIMESTER TESTS
These are some of the common tests that pregnant mothers have to do in the third trimester:
7. Glucose Tolerance Tests
In this test, you will be required to drink a glucose juice and after that your blood is drawn to check your blood sugar levels. This is done between 26 and 28 weeks to determine the risk of gestational diabetes. Depending on the results, your doctor will ask you to take necessary steps to control your blood sugar. You need to fast for fourteen hours before drinking the juice for this test.
8. Non-Stress Test
This test uses a belt placed around the expectant mothers’ abdomen to indicate possible signs of fetal distress. This can be done any time after 28 weeks.
9. Kick Counting Test
Some women who have chronic health issues are carrying multiples, or experience post-term pregnancy may be asked to do a kick-count test routinely. Your doctor may also recommend this test if you don’t feel your baby moving regularly.
10. Group B streptococcus
The doctor may take a swab of the mother’s vagina and rectum to look for bacteria that may pose a risk of infection to the baby. This test usually happens around 36 weeks.
11. Biophysical Profile
This is an ultrasound along with a nonstress test to determine if the baby is ready to be delivered. Once the mother is nearer to her due date, these tests are done very regularly.
TESTS AFTER DELIVERY
After the baby is born, these are some of the important tests done:
12. APGAR Scale
This provides a quick assessment of the newborn’s overall health. It stands for appearance, pulse, grimace (reflex irritability), activity and respiration. The higher the score, the better. Most newborns lose a point or two for blue hands and lips, which is generally not a reason for concern.
13. Six-week Checkup
Your doctor will want to see you six weeks after delivery to ensure that you’re healing well. They also check for any tears or incisions, and to see if they have been infected. They will suggest the right treatment in case there is any cause of worry. Apart from this, doctors will also ask for a new mom’s emotional health since there is a chance for postpartum depression cropping up. You will also get information about birth control and when you can start planning a baby, if you intend on planning to have one anytime soon.
Although getting pregnant is a wonderful experience for most women, the wide plethora of tests and the amount of time spent at the doctor’s clinic might seem daunting. If you are confused with the information available and are unable to decide which tests are important, see our team of doctors at KIMS Cuddles who will give you the right advice about the same. While the process of blood withdrawal and urine sampling can seem stressful, it is important to remember that some of the above-mentioned tests are absolutely essential and can save the life of both baby and mom.