A number of women expect to undergo various physical examinations and tests during their pregnancy. It is beneficial if you have a guide for more of the common tests that you may be asked during pregnancy so that you will be aware of the benefits of each test prior to having the actual test conducted.

Prenatal tests help provide valuable information for the soon-to-be-parents and the physician with regards to the unborn baby’s health. It helps give proper assessment for any health concerns that may need to be addressed in utero to assure a better quality of life after the infant is born.

Pregnant women who are aged 35 or older are more at risk to produce an offspring with chromosomal abnormalities and are offered prenatal tests in addition to the usual general pregnancy tests.

A family history of any inherited condition like Duchenne muscular dystrophy would be enough to offer additional prenatal tests as an option. If the pregnant woman or her partner has an ethnic background or ancestry that is considered as a high risk for genetic disorders like thalassemia, Tay-Sachs disease, or sickle cell anemia then additional prenatal testing is often recommended.

Toddler holds mom's protruding navel


Tests such as amniocentesis and CVS testing have become routine tests to be conducted; however, both of these tests do carry a degree of risk for the fetus. It is ideal that the tests be discussed in full prior to conducting them.

The general tests for pregnancy includes urine and blood tests, Rh factor determination blood test, ultrasound scans, and even paternity testing.

The most common tests during the first trimester of pregnancy include chorionic villus sampling and first trimester blood screening tests for specific chromosomal abnormalities. The possible chromosomal abnormalities include trisomy-18, Down’s syndrome, and trisomy-21. The nuchal translucency test allows the identification of any cardiac disorder and significant fetal abnormality.

Amniocentesis is offered during the second trimester of pregnancy for women aged 35 or more and those with health concerns or based on the doctor’s recommendation. Amniocentesis can be risky for the fetus, which is why the pros and cons of the test should be carefully explained and weighed before the actual test is conducted.

The other tests during the second trimester include percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS), cordoecentesis, triple screen test, maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein screening (MSAFP), quad screen test and multiple marker screening.

The common pregnancy tests during the third trimester include fetal non-stress test (NST), which the woman may need to have more than one of, the biophysical profile (BPP), and the glucose tolerance test (GTT), which is sometimes repeated depending on the result. A strep infection test is also conducted.

The pregnant woman should be prepared that a medical professional usually her doctor or midwife would fully explain the details of each test, their benefits, the risks, and the type of procedure entailed in performing the test. The necessity of performing the test should also be explained including the pros and cons of performing the test during rather than after the pregnancy. This is particularly important if the tests are for the baby’s health.

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