Pregnancy will bring a horde of changes in your life and your body. The months leading up to the arrival of your bundle of joy will come with an endless series of tests. These need to be done to ascertain you and your baby’s well-being.
As a would-be-mother, it is important that you know about these tests. Understanding why you need them and how they will help can give you some useful insight.
First Trimester Tests During Pregnancy:
First trimester tests are important to establish the presence of the fetus in the womb. It also helps in monitoring its proper development. During the first trimester of pregnancy, you will have to go through the following tests:
1. Blood Tests:
Your blood sample will be taken to conduct tests for:
- Immunity to Rubella
- Immunity to chicken pox
- Hepatitis B
- Hemoglobin levels
- Rh status
- Blood group
- Exposure to toxoplasmosis
2. Urine Tests:
Urine samples will be taken for checking:
- Whether you have any infection in the urinary tract or kidney.
- Level of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
- Presence of glucose in urine.
Apart from the above routine tests, screening might also be done for risks of certain diseases:
- Pregnancy associated Plasma Protein screening is done to ascertain normal chromosome levels in the body and rule out genetic disorders.
- Nuchal translucency will be checked through ultrasound tests. It helps to rule out presence of Down syndrome.
Second Trimester Tests During Pregnancy:
Once you have crossed the crucial first three months, you can be a bit relaxed. Still, there are some vital tests to be carried out. Triple or quadruple marker tests are done as they show the presence of anomalies. The common tests are:
1. Blood Tests:
Blood tests will be conducted for,
- Spinal Tube defect
- Down syndrome
- Gestational diabetes by measuring blood sugar levels.
2. Urine Tests:
- UTI (urinary tract infections)
3. Ultrasound Tests:
Ultrasound tests will be done to
- Ensure that the growth of the baby is normal according to the age of pregnancy.
- Confirm presence of multiple fetuses.
- Measure length of cervix.
- Check fetal movements.
Amniocentesis is a test that is done if the results of the marker tests show some anomaly. It is an invasive test and checks for genetic disorders.
Third Trimester Tests During Pregnancy:
Congratulations! You have sailed through two trimesters and are closer to giving birth. This period is crucial and check-ups are done for a number of things.
1. Ultrasound Tests:
Ultrasound tests can be done to check:
- Level of amniotic fluid.
- Growth of the baby by measuring her thigh bones, head and midsection.
- Position of the baby to determine whether you would need a caesarian section.
- In case you are overdue, the tests might check the heartbeat and well-being of baby.
- The location of the placenta and cervix.
Some Other Important Tests:
Additionally, you may have the following tests done too:
- Urine tests are repeated for similar reasons as in the second trimester, like UTI, preeclampsia, etc.
- Blood tests also may be repeated to check sugar and iron levels, especially if they were irregular during earlier tests.
- Test for Group B Streptococcus, which is an infection caused by bacteria. The test is done by wiping your vagina and rectum with a swab and checking it for presence of bacteria.
- A non-stress test may also be conducted by using a fetal monitor to check the baby’s heart rate and movements
All these tests are done to ensure that you and your child are safe. The exact number of tests done or frequency of ultrasound varies from one woman to another, as it depends on presence of complications, if any.
It is always advisable to consult your doctor for any specific tests that you need. Rest assured, taking care of your diet and resting properly will keep both you and baby healthy!