Essential Tests For The Pregnant Woman
Pregnant women are often shocked by how much medical testing their doctor recommends during gestation. So which tests are standard for routine pregnancy screenings? This article will include the necessary Tests For Pregnant Woman to expect.
A doctor should perform all of these and, depending on the situation, more.
The first twelve weeks following conception are known as the first trimester.
This time, the period will likely be filled with a combination of blood tests and ultrasounds. The medical testing performed in the first trimester mainly focus on identifying possible birth defects in the unborn child.
Fetal Nuchal Translucency
This test lets the doctor check the fetus for fluid at the back of it’s neck. There should be fluid, but too much liquid or milky-looking fluid is cause for concern. If the doctor feels the ultrasound looks abnormal he may order additional tests in the future.
Maternal Serum Blood Tests
The Maternal Serum tests require blood to be taken from the pregnant mother-to-be. Two of the most important blood tests are the HCG and Papp-A tests.
HCG is a hormone that the placenta will produce in the primary stages of gestation. HCG will make its way from the placenta and cross over into the mother’s bloodstream. Finding levels of HCG in the mother’s blood that are too high send up a red flag. It doesn’t ensure that the child will be born with a chromosomal problem, but it’s possible. Unusually high levels of HCG can also be the result of the fetus being older than initially thought.
Papp-A is another one of the common tests for pregnancy abnormalities. Papp-A is another hormone created in the placenta that should get transferred into the mother’s veins. When levels are too low, this could be indicative of a genetic disorder. The chromosomal disorders that this test checks for are often life-threatening.
It’s important to note that neither of the Maternal Serum blood tests is always accurate. Bothe tests have been shown to reveal false positives and negatives. For example, the medical testing may suggest the baby has Down’s Syndrome when it doesn’t. It can seldom indicate that the child does not have Down’s Syndrome when it truly does.
Anytime the levels are not within normal range. The doctor will investigate further. Amniocentesis is a medical testing procedure that is often recommended when there is cause for concern. Amniocentesis is one of the invasive but more accurate tests for pregnancy problems but comes with risks.
This includes loss of pregnancy or serious infection, though complications such as these are rare. Often the doctor will urge a pregnant couple to let the baby grow more before having additional medical testing. This can be stressful for the patients, but in some cases, it may be the safest option.
The medical testing performed during the second trimester are considered to be multiple-marker screening tests. These are typically blood or urine tests using fluids harvested from the mother.
This screening test will require another blood sample from the pregnant patient. Lab results will reveal the amount of AFP in her blood. Once the baby’s liver begins developing, a hormone called AFP should begin to migrate.
It will go from the amniotic fluid through the placenta and into the mother’s blood. Abnormally high levels could mean the baby could have severe to life-threatening health conditions. Very high concentrations may also mean the mother is carrying more than one healthy baby.
This is a repeat blood test that will be identical to the one taken in the first trimester. Regardless if the first test came back normal or not, the doctor will order a second HCG test.
Estriol is a type of estrogen hormone that the placenta should produce in large quantities. If the amount of Estriol found in the mother’s blood looks aberrant at this stage, it could indicate birth defects.
Inhibin is a glycoprotein made in the placenta. The amount of this protein found in the maternal carrier’s blood should reflect the baby’s stage of development. If levels are low, the baby may not normally be growing. If the levels are high, it could be a signal that the baby has a chromosomal disorder.
Week 28 And Beyond
From the onset of the third trimester until giving birth, the mother’s health becomes a major concern. The doctor will order medical testing for high blood pressure and diabetes.
Even if the mother has never had these problems before, there is a chance they could develop. Pregnancy can be the cause of these health conditions. Ultrasounds for the baby will also be a repeat occurrence.
Before giving birth, the physician will want to see the position of the baby. He will also use the sonogram as a form of medical testing to see if the baby is growing normally.