There are a number of tests you may take throughout your pregnancy to ensure that all is well for you and your baby. The tests you take will depend on your age and your pregnancy history. A number of these test can also help you determine the gender of your baby. Learn more about the types of test you may be offered during your pregnancy, why you need these tests and what to expect during the testing. Also find out what these test can help determine about your baby and your pregnancy.
Ultrasounds And Other Common Tests
An ultrasound will probably be one of the first tests your doctor performs and it will help to confirm your pregnancy. In particular, 3D ultrasounds offer especially high quality imaging. This type of ultrasound provides a particularly candid glimpse into the life of your growing baby. However, ultrasounds are just used to confirm a pregnancy but are also a great tool for determining the sex of your baby and the overall health of your baby. Using an ultrasound machine can help doctors to see if their are any problems with your baby such as abnormal growth, high or low birth weight, missing limbs, club feet, etc... They can also be used in conjunction with a blood test to determine your baby's risk of down syndrome. On the fun side, you get a secret inside glimpse into your uterus and get a wonderful opportunity to see your baby before he or she is even born. Many ultrasound technicians will even print out a picture of your baby inutero.
But after the ultrasound, how do you know which tests you should have?
There are some tests that all mothers will be offered, like glucose screening and alpha-fetoprotein. The former test will help to determine if you have gestational diabetes--a form of diabetes in pregnancy. This is important to know because you will then need to change your eating habits during pregnancy to ensure the health of your baby. The alpha-fetoprotein test can help, along with an ultrasound, your baby's risk of down syndrome. Other tests for things like cystic fibrosis are only performed if you have a family history of the disease.
Other tests, like chorionic villus screening and amniocentesis are more commonly offered to pregnant women over the age of 35. An amniocentesis, like the alpha-fetoprotein test, looks to see if your baby has down syndrome but it is a much more accurate test. However, this test does come with a small risk of miscarriage. Find out more.
After having an amniocentesis test, some women may be recommended for further testing involving fetal blood sampling. Women can confirm the true father of their baby by opting for paternity testing
. This can be done as early as the tenth week of pregnancy.
Combined first-trimester screening is a new test that has only started being offered to pregnant women. Performed in the first trimester, this test is safer and more accurate than many other prenatal screening tests.
Your medical practitioner and/or genetic counselor will advise you on which tests would be most beneficial. Because all of these tests have positive and negative aspects, it is important to be informed about them. Be sure to read about all of them so you can decide what you want to be tested for.