Critical Medical Tests For Pregnant Women
For ladies who are pregnant – or plan to become pregnant – medical testing is available for their benefit.
Undergoing the following medical tests will not only help protect the mother, but it will also protect the baby’s health as well.
Before Getting Pregnant
Carrier Genetic Screening
This is a test that will most likely be provided to both the male and female in the relationship. Doctors will usually administer the test before conception. This test will screen parents for the possibility of carrying a gene that could cause health problems in their offspring.
Parents don’t have to be afflicted with the particular disorder to pass it on to their children. If any of their ancestors had a genetic disease, it’s probable that they could be carriers. Even if one parent is a carrier for a particular biological disorder, it’s not necessarily a huge concern.
What can be more alarming is if both parents are carriers for a particular disease. This then doubles the likelihood that their child may inherit the specific disease. There are hundreds of different health problems that can be genetic. Many of them will vary by race.
Although almost every race will have some cases of a disease, some are far more prevalent in certain races. For example cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease is most commonly inherited by Caucasians. Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary blood disorder almost never seen outside people of African decent. Therefore the type of genetic screening the doctor may perform may be based in part on his patient’s ethnicity.
STD tests aren’t usually the first thing to come to mind when planning for pregnancy. Nevertheless, they are extremely important. Some mothers may not know they have an STD that could be a risk to them. Sexually transmitted diseases can also endanger their pregnancy and their baby’s health.
One of the main reasons why mothers forego STD testing is because they aren’t showing symptoms of any diseases. Genital Herpes is an example of an STD that can easily go undetected. Because some women will go months or even years without sores, they don’t know they’ve been infected.
Their baby’s health will probably be unaffected if they continue to be break-out free. The problem is, there is no guarantee they won’t have a breakout just before giving birth. If the baby is exposed to the Herpes virus during birth, they can go blind. Doctors typically will recommend a C-section delivery to women who test positive for Genital Herpes.
HIV/AIDs contraction has become less common in recent years, but the disease still exists. Often females won’t realize they have it without having an STD test performed. After the initial contraction of HIV, women will experience flu-like symptoms followed by fatigue.
Obviously, most people who have it first thought they had a normal virus, not a life-threatening STD. If it were to go undiagnosed and untreated the likelihood, the child would get it is twenty-percent. Mothers who are diagnosed and given proper care have only a two percent chance of giving it to their children. This is why STD tests are so important to pregnancy.
To find an STD Test near you, check out one of the following excellent sites:
- 4 kinds of anonymous STD tests explained and compared plus a city guide: http://stdtestoptions.info
First Trimester Tests
Rhesus Factor Testing
The majority of humans are considered to be Rh positive. This mean that the Rh protein is present on their erythrocytes. Only about fifteen percent of people in the world are Rh negative. Women who are Rh negative who are pregnant by a Rh positive male must be medically monitored.
The risk is if the fetus develops the same type of blood as his father, there could be dire consequences. What could happen is the mother’s blood could mix with the baby’s blood via the placenta. This could invoke hemolytic anemia, a condition where the mother’s immune system attacks the baby.
It can occur in first-time pregnancy, but is more likely to happen in a subsequent pregnancy. This is because the mother’s immune system will react more readily if exposed a second time to Rh positive blood. All it takes is a vaccination to ensure the safety of the at-risk mother and child.
Fetal Ultrasound Test
This diagnostic test will let doctors and mothers get the first glimpse at their baby. One thing that the doctor will want to check for is the development of the fetus. The size of the fetus will clue him into the baby’s approximate gestational age. He can then use that information to determine a flexible due date for the mom-to-be.
He’ll also want to check to see that the baby is in a good position. Fetuses cannot survive outside the uterus for long. If the baby is attached via the fallopian tube, the mother needs to be prepared for an unfortunate outcome. This test needs to be performed at the end of the first trimester. If done before, the baby may not be easily visible.
Second Trimester Tests
The Alpha-fetoprotein Test is a customary second-trimester test. This test focuses on finding neural tube issues that would be likely if the AFP levels are too high. This is usually a blood test (taken from the mother’s arm). If the findings are abnormal, additional tests may be needed.
Amniocentesis is a more precise way to measure AFP production, but it is riskier. It’s also a good idea to have an ultrasound performed. The fetus may be older than previously thought, which could result in a false positive. If all tests conclude abnormal levels of AFP are present, it could indicate serious health disorders. Spina Bifida, Down’s Syndrome, and Microcephaly are three of the most common.
Less than five percent of women will develop diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes usually shows up in the second trimester and can be confirmed by a blood test. Mothers who test positive for Gestational Diabetes can usually improve their condition by dieting. If that’s not enough, insulin shots are an option.
Third Trimester Tests
Strep B Test
Doctors will often recommend patients to have a Streptococcus test during their third trimester of pregnancy. If they do test positive for being a carrier of the virus, antibiotics become standard procedure. The possibilities of the infant being born with Strep B is far less one percent. The health risks are so dire that most doctors will insist on administering antibiotics a few hours before delivery.
Blood Pressure Test
It’s common for blood pressure to escalate mildly during pregnancy. If blood pressure goes too high for too long, it can cause Preeclampsia. This could limit the blood flow to the baby who is just as dangerous as it sounds. Mothers can be given medication if their blood pressure is too high.
Even if the mother was tested before getting pregnant for an STD, she might need to be re-tested. STDs can be contracted at any time if she is sexually active. Having accurate health information will give her a safer pregnancy, birth, and baby.