The wonderful period of a woman’s pregnancy is characterized by numerous changes in the body. The expectant mother is responsible not only for herself but also for the health of her baby. Regular medical check-ups should be carried out for quality control of the pregnancy and to prevent possible anomalies. In this article, we will discuss what tests are done during pregnancy and when.
What tests are necessary for pregnant women?
The spectrum of necessary tests, which every pregnant woman has heard about, is indeed wide. In order to avoid panic for the expectant mother, we have tried to structure the information according to which tests are done during pregnancy by weeks. Read on and take note!
What tests are done during the first trimester of pregnancy?
So, the journey that lasts for 9 months begins with the pregnant woman being registered at the women’s clinic. The obstetrician-gynecologist collects the medical history, conducts a general physical examination of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urinary, and mammary systems, anthropometry (measurement of height, weight, determination of BMI), measurement of pelvic dimensions, examination of the cervix in mirrors, and bimanual vaginal examination. In addition to this, we will detail which tests pregnant women undergo when they register for antenatal care:
- Complete blood count (CBC);
- Blood biochemistry during pregnancy includes a range of indicators: total protein, urea, creatinine, total and direct bilirubin, ALT, AST, glucose, total cholesterol;
- Toxoplasmosis analysis during pregnancy. Includes identification of IgG and IgM antibody levels to Toxoplasma gondii. These indicators also determine immunity to rubella, simple herpes, and cytomegalovirus;
- Complete urine analysis (CUA);
- Determination of blood group and Rh factor. For Rh-negative women: investigation of the father’s blood group and Rh factor for the child;
- Determination of class M and G antibodies to HIV, viral hepatitis B and C antigens in the blood;
- Laboratory examination of vaginal secretions for the presence of gonococcus and Candida fungi;
- PCR tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, mycoplasma, and trichomoniasis infections.
In addition to the mandatory pregnancy tests, an ECG examination, ultrasound, and visits to specialists if necessary are prescribed.
What tests are taken during the second trimester of pregnancy?
Starting from the fourth month, the calendar of tests and examinations for pregnant women is slightly simplified.
The necessary list of examinations includes only:
- Complete blood count and urinalysis;
- Rh factor and antibody screening;
- Blood tests for estriol, alpha-fetoprotein, and beta-HCG.
Visits to the obstetrician-gynecologist occur every 2-3 weeks. During the examination, the specialist determines the circumference of the abdomen, the height of the uterus fundus, its tone, performs palpation, and listens to the baby in the womb. The second screening ultrasound is performed at 18-21 weeks.
What tests are taken during the third trimester of pregnancy?
At the final stage of pregnancy, the monitoring and medical checks intensify again. A series of tests are carried out, which are almost identical to the package of tests from the first trimester. Therefore, let’s briefly describe:
- Complete blood count and biochemical blood tests;
- Determination of IgM and IgG class antibodies to rubella virus and Toxoplasma gondii;
- Detection of antibodies to Treponema pallidum, HIV, and antigens of viral hepatitis B and C;
- Laboratory examination of vaginal secretions for the presence of gonococci and Candida fungi;
- Oral glucose tolerance test.
The expectant mother should visit the obstetrician-gynecologist strictly every 2 weeks, and after 36 weeks – once a week. The specialist carefully monitors physiological changes and provides necessary advice to the pregnant woman regarding her lifestyle and preparation for childbirth. The third screening ultrasound is performed with Dopplerometry.
What tests should also be given special attention?
Above, we discussed the tests that are taken during pregnancy in the early stages, the second trimester, and the final trimester. It should be understood that the list of tests we provided can be supplemented with other studies, depending on the mother’s physiological indicators, the condition of the developing fetus, and even the father’s health.
It is very important to identify genetic abnormalities in the fetus. In this case, specialists recommend taking a test for genetic diseases during pregnancy if the mother or father has a history of genetic anomalies. It is conducted between the first day of the tenth week and the fifth day of the thirteenth week. Depending on the indications, the following studies may be prescribed:
- AFP or multiple marker test;
- Chorionic biopsy;
- Non-invasive prenatal testing;
- Umbilical cord blood sampling;
There are also various life situations when a pregnant woman doubts her partner’s paternity. To confirm or refute the presumed relationship, a paternity test during pregnancy can be used. The safest and most informative is the DNA test. It is conducted from the seventh week of pregnancy. During this test, DNA is taken from the mother by taking a blood sample and from the father by swabbing the inside of their cheek. Typically, results are available within one week. However, this test is not available for women carrying twins, as current technology does not yet allow for the separation of both fetuses’ DNA.
In addition to DNA testing, there are also invasive methods for determining paternity, including chorionic villus biopsy and amniocentesis. The choice of testing method is strictly coordinated with the doctor who is managing the pregnancy.
In conclusion, we want to encourage future mothers: no matter how many prenatal tests you have, try not to worry. After all, you are going through this difficult path for the sake of a healthy baby! And to switch your attention from worrying, while spending your time wisely, we recommend reading our articles on child-rearing and development.
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