When you’re pregnant, your doctor might ask you to undergo several tests to ensure that you and your baby are in optimal health. As a first time parent, it might be baffling to try and comprehend why these important prenatal tests are essential. We, at KIMS Cuddles, are here to tell you all about some important prenatal tests and why they’re needed:
First Trimester Tests
During the First Trimester, there are many important screening tests that are performed to determine if the fetus has any risk or birth defects. These tests include:
- Ultrasound test for fetal nuchal translucency (NT)
This screening makes use of an ultrasound test to examine the area at the back of the fetal neck for increased fluid or thickening.
- Two maternal serum (blood) tests
These blood tests measure two substances found in the blood of all pregnant women:
- Pregnancy-associated plasma protein screening (PAPP-A):
A protein produced by the placenta in early pregnancy. Abnormal levels are associated with an increased risk for chromosome abnormality.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG): A hormone produced by the placenta in early pregnancy. Abnormal levels are associated with an increased risk for chromosome abnormality.
These important prenatal tests in the first trimester can determine whether the fetus might have a birth defect, such as Down syndrome. Further tests might be recommended by your medical practitioner, which may include:
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
This is an invasive screening test that involves taking a small piece of tissue from the placenta. This test is usually performed between 10th and 12th weeks, to test for genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome and other birth defects. Testing may have certain side effects like cramping or spotting, and in very rare cases, even miscarriage. Talk to the experts at KIMS Cuddles to know if you really need to get this test done.
Second Trimester Tests
Here are some screening tests performed during the second trimester to rule out any risk or birth defects.
- Glucose Screening
This test is used to check for gestational diabetes, a condition that can develop during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can increase your chances for a caesarean delivery. Also, your child may have low blood sugar in the days following delivery. The test is usually performed during the second trimester and involves drinking a sugary solution, having your blood drawn and then checking your blood sugar levels.
This test involves testing the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby during pregnancy. It contains fetal cells with the same genetic makeup as the baby, as well as various chemicals produced by the baby’s body. A genetic amniocentesis is performed after week 15 of pregnancy and tests for genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome and spina bifida. It may be considered if:
- A prenatal screening test showed abnormalities
- You had a chromosomal abnormality during previous pregnancy
- You’re 35 or older
- You have a family history of a specific genetic disorder
- You or your partner is a known carrier of a genetic disorder
A maturity amniocentesis is performed during the third trimester to determine whether your baby’s lungs are ready for birth or not. It is only done if a planned early delivery through either induction of labor or C-section is being considered.
Third Trimester Tests
Your doctor may recommend these tests in your third trimester
Group B Strep Screening
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria that can cause serious infections in pregnant women and newborn. It is often found in the mouth, the throat, lower intestinal tract and the vagina of healthy women. GBS can be harmful to a newborn baby who doesn’t yet have a strong immune system. Therefore, GBS screening is done around week 35-37 of pregnancy. Our team of experts at KIMS Cuddles will guide you if you should test positive for GBS.
Apart from the above-mentioned important prenatal tests, your doctor may perform Ultrasound tests at regular intervals to check the overall health and growth of your baby. At KIMS Cuddles, we ensure that we provide you with all the necessary care and comfort in your pregnancy days.
*The opinions expressed in this article are not to be substituted for medical advice under any circumstance