Health, Pregnancy

Test and screenings


May 12, 2022

Once your pregnancy is confirmed, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN or doctor.

In most cases, the first and second-trimester visits are scheduled once a month and the third-trimester visits get more frequent at once every two weeks. Once you hit your 36-month mark, you might be asked to visit every week or more depending upon your personal circumstance.

During these visits, the doctor makes sure that everything is going smoothly and runs certain tests and screenings as needed. It might prepare you to know the upcoming tests in your next hospital visit.

First trimester tests and screenings:

In the first trimester, you will be tested and screened for a lot of conditions ranging from genetic, medical, gynecological, and mental to obstetrical history. The screenings and tests are done to test for the chance of any birth defects and the possibility of down syndrome.

  1. Blood Test:
    • Your doctor will first test your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in the blood to confirm your pregnancy. This test can also be used to identify any chromosomal abnormality in the early stages of pregnancy.
    • To confirm your blood type, in case you need a transfusion.
    • The possibility of deficiency in vitamins.
    • Ensure blood sugar and blood pressure.
    • Rh testing is done to ensure the compatibility of that protein in your and your baby’s body.
  2. Genetic Screening: If you or your partner have a history of genetic disorders, you might be recommended to get a genetic screening for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, polycystic kidney.
  3. Pap Smears: Whether or not you’ve not befriended the Pap Smears test already, it will try to be a part of your prenatal visit. The test screens for cervical cancer along with the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases that might cause issues during pregnancy.
  4. Urine Tests: Urine test is one of the most common tests throughout your pregnancy. Whether it is Urinary Tract Infections, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, a urine test is enough to identify them. All of these conditions have a very high chance of occurring during pregnancy.
  5. Ultrasounds: You will see your baby’s first images inside your belly with the help of technology i.e. ultrasound waves. The first trimester ultrasounds can be done to determine the following.
    • Any chromosome or developmental abnormalities
    • Presence of multiple babies.
    • Duration of pregnancy.
  6. Chorionic Villus Sampling CVS: A Chorionic Villus Sampling test is done to check for any genetic conditions and identify symptoms of abnormal chromosomal developments. Your doctor might prescribe the CVS screening for the following reasons:
    • A geriatric pregnancy, i.e. if you are over 35 years old.
    • History of genetic disease.
    • Results from blood tests.

Second trimester tests and screenings

  1. Glucose Screening: This tests for higher levels of glucose in your blood during pregnancy to prevent gestational diabetes. Don’t worry even if your test results come out a bit lopsided because it is easy to manage it through exercise and diet.
  2. Ultrasounds: The second trimester ultrasounds can be done to determine the following:
    • Overall growth and development of the baby.
    • Any genetic disorders.
    • It also reveals the sex of your baby.
    • Check the amount of amniotic fluid.
    • Checking for multiple babies.
  3. Blood test/ quad screening: Another common blood test performed in the second trimester is the quad screening which includes four different hormones and proteins. These combined are helpful to check the risk of neural defects, down syndrome and to determine the baby’s health.
    • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) 
    • Estriol in the placenta
    • Inhibin in the placenta 
    • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the placenta.
  4. Amniocentesis is another test you can opt for to check the chromosomal abnormalities. In this test, some of the liquid from your amniotic fluid will be extracted.

Third Trimester tests and screenings

  1. Group B Strep (GBS) Test: A GBS test during your late pregnancies is a must to ensure that you don’t transmit it to your baby during childbirth. If you are GBS positive, your doctor will give you an antibiotic through IV while in labor to reduce the chance of transmission.
  2. Non stress test: If you are late in your pregnancy period or past your due date, your doctor might ask this test to make sure that your baby is doing fine. Don’t be scared of the name of the test. It’s a simple test performed to measure your baby’s heart rates and movements under no stress.
  3. Biophysical Profile: It is a simple ultrasound test to make sure that your baby is doing fine up there. The test might be recommended if you are at risk for complications or have gone past your due date.

During most of the appointments your doctor will check the following:

  1. Blood pressure
  2. Weight
  3. Urine sample
  4. Swelling
  5. Baby’s heartbeat
  6. Uterine growth



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