Tests Performed During Pregnancy
There are usually two types of Pregnancy tests:
- Routine Tests during Pregnancy that everyone receives
- Specialized Tests during Pregnancy for those who are considered to be at risk.
The Normal Tests during Pregnancy
During the first visit, a gynecologist will do a thorough gynecological exam. Your cervix will be checked, and a clinical pelvimetry exam performed. For this pregnancy test, the doctor uses his hands to get an estimate of the size of the pelvic bones to identify if your anatomy is adequate for delivering a baby vaginally. Other areas to be checked as a part of pregnancy test will be the breasts, heart, and lungs.
CBC Tests during Pregnancy
One of the most common Tests during Pregnancy is the complete blood count (CBC) test. This test checks your hematocrit, hemoglobin and platelet count to measure your potential for anemia.
Those women who are anemic need to be identified before delivery so that treatment can improve their blood count. Physiologic anemia can be problematic to the patient.<>/p
A woman usually loses half a liter of blood on average at delivery. Hence the platelet count measures the blood’s ability to clot in case there is blood loss. With a low platelet count, a patient is at risk for bleeding for longer duration which might lead the patient to death.
Urine Screen Tests during Pregnancy
A urine screen test is primarily performed to check for urinary tract infections (UTIs) if any. Occasionally, the urine screen may help identify other abnormalities of renal function, such as excess sugar or protein. Pregnant women are more prone to UTIs. If the screening tests positive for an infection, the doctor will order further evaluations to identify which organisms are responsible for the infection.
UTIs can lead to kidney infections. If the infection is not cured, this can lead to harmful effects on the pregnancy, as well as increase the risk for in the mother.
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Blood Type and Rh Status and Antibody Screen Tests during Pregnancy
Blood tests to check blood type, Rh status, and antibody screen. Your blood type needs to be checked so that the medical staff will be ready with the blood group if there is a need for a transfusion. Rh-negative women need to be identified in advance.
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Rubella Screen Tests during Pregnancy
If a screen test shows that you are not immune to rubella (this means you can contract it), then the hospital will immunize you once your baby is born. Immunization cannot be done while you’re pregnant because it’s a live-borne virus so the baby could be affected. If a pregnant woman gets the infection, she could transmit the virus to her baby. The virus could increase the risk of congenital anomalies, preterm labor issues, and severe medical complications for the baby.
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Hepatitis B Tests during Pregnancy
Women who have hepatitis B or was infected previously have a higher probability of transmitting the disease to their infant during or after birth, so it’s important to get this test done as a part of a Pregnancy test.
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Pap Smear Tests during Pregnancy
A Pap smear will be done if you haven’t had one already in the previous year. It is done to determine precancerous changes in the cervix. Some people need to go through a colposcopy test and a cervix biopsy for further evaluation. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are also checked through a culture from the vagina. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated by prescribing antibiotics.
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HIV Test for AIDS Tests during Pregnancy
It’s a well-established fact that there is a risk of transmission of AIDS from mother to baby. Around 30% infant may get HIV from their HIV infected mother. HIV infection has little effect on the pregnancy, but the pregnancy itself can affect the degree of the HIV infection (making it worse at times) as it suppresses the immune system.
Gestational Diabetes Tests during Pregnancy
Approximately 2-3% of women develop gestational diabetes in their pregnancy (pregnancy caused their diabetic condition). Generally, these are the people who have no prior history or risk factor of diabetes. Because of this, a glucose screen is performed on most women in their third trimester i.e 26-28 weeks of pregnancy.
Towards the beginning of the third trimester, the mother’s body undergoes stress and her ability to balance her sugars is affected to a greater extent, affecting her metabolism and her blood pressure, hence affects both the mother and the fetus.
A mother with diabetes has the potential of causing a rapid growth in the fetus. This occurs because the elevated blood sugars in the mother are observed as elevated blood sugars in the baby. This fetal growth increases the probability that the baby may not fit through the mother’s birth canal, due to its larger size. So the baby could become hypoglycemic as its blood sugar plummets. This condition might lead to metabolic problems in the baby, affecting the baby’s future growth and development.
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