Some Of The Routine Screening Tests During Pregnancy : Lets discus about some of the routine screening tests during Pregnancy.
1. Blood Tests
Identify the blood group & Rh factor : (Rh GAM) : Blood test helps in identifying your blood group and Rh factor (that is, whether your blood group is positive or negative). This is of great significance. If the mother is Rh-ve and the father is Rh+ve, the foetus is likely to be rh+ve. This induces the growth of antibodies for Rh factor in mother. In such cases, the first pregnancy remains preserved and delivered healthy, but with the higher chances that the second pregnancy may get aborted. This is because of the presence of antibodies for the Rh factor which migrates into the foetal blood circulation, causing abortion of the foetus or hyperbilirubinemia (Jaundice) in the foetus leading to further complications.
Check prenatal anaemia : Prenatal anaemia screening measures the presence of haemoglobin, and haematocrit (percentage of RBC) in your blood. Depending on the results of these tests, the doctor may advise you for other tests like, complete blood count (CBC) test or iron and ferritin levels test. A CBC looks at the number, colour, size and shape of your red blood cells. Iron and ferritin level checks the amount of iron in your body. These test results help to identity anaemia and determine its cause and severity.
The normal range of haemoglobin in females is 12-16 g/100 ml of blood, normal haematocrit range is 35-45% and iron level is 30-120 pg/100 ml of blood. If any of these factors remains below normal, then it indicates anaemia.
Checking for presence of Thalassemia minor trait in either or both the parents are very important. Thalassemia is a genetic disorder of development of haemoglobin chains where by the red cell survival time is reduced. Thalassemia is checked by Haemoglobin Electrophoresis. If only one parent is Thalassemia minor, then it is not much concern. However, if both you and your partner are Thalassemia minors, you stand a 25% chance of having a Thalassemia major child who would require blood for its survival later. Hence in such cases your doctor would advise you to go in for a genetic amniocentesis to check the Thalassemia status of the baby.
Check the general health of your baby : These tests are done to identify the presence of antibodies, viruses or infections that can affect you or your baby’s health. They also help to identify anaemia or any deficiency caused by micro nutrients.
Check HIV : One specific test is done to detect HIV in your blood and your body’s immunity to tackle it.
Check your immunity : A test is done to determine your immunity against rubella, also known as German measles.
2. Urine Tests
A urine sample test helps to identify:
- Proteinuria Presence of protein in your urine.
- Glycosuria Presence of sugar in your urine. This helps in detecting diabetes.
- UTI Presence of any Urinary Tract Infection.
- Other infections Presence of any other infection.
- Diabetes screening – This is important to determine your glucose level so that the risk of gestational diabetes can be ruled out.
3. Ultrasound scan determines the gestational age and wellbeing of your foetus
Ultrasound scans are done at 6-8 weeks viability scan, 12-14 weeks NT scan and 20-24 weeks anomaly scan, 28-30 weeks internal growth scan, 36-37 weeks term scan with Doppler or BPP scan. These scans help to calculate accurately your EDD (Expected Date of Delivery) by determining the gestational age of the foetus in the first scan. It also helps to rule out the risks for ectopic or molar pregnancies and intra-uterine death. In the later stage of pregnancy, it helps to ensure the wellbeing of the foetus.
- Foetal anomaly scanning test identifies the right growth of your baby.
Foetal anomaly scanning tests are performed when there is a doubt that the baby may not be developing as expected. This happens mostly if either of the parents is a carrier of hereditary disease, or if another test has indicated that there is a problem. This test is usually done during the second trimester.
- Doppler scanning: This is a special scan used during pregnancy. Doppler scan is a special, non-invasive scan which uses black and white or colour images to examine the blood flowing through the umbilical cord between the placenta and the baby.
- Nuchal fold or Nuchal translucency is measured by ultrasound by measuring the fluid in the nape of the foetal neck, this helps to estimate the risk of Down’s syndrome.
4. Double and Triple Marker tests
These are blood tests done around 12 weeks (double marker test) and between 16-18 weeks (Triple marker test). These tests measure some hormones in the blood as marker for screening of Down’s syndrome, Trisomy 18 and neural tube defects.
5. Tests to ensure a safe delivery
Tests to measure foetal well being are often done in the third trimester. They are performed during the last weeks of pregnancy to ensure that the foetus is healthy and is showing no sign of distress. If these tests indicate that the foetus is in distress the baby is often induced.
The tests may include:
- Biophysical profile – It involves an ultrasound scan and a Non Stress Test (NST). It determines the well being of the foetus. NST is done by correlating foetal heart rate with the movements of the baby.
- Electronic foetal monitoring – This is mostly used for measuring foetal heart rate.
- Doppler Ultrasonography It is a type of Ultrasound that measures the blood flow to the foetus in an attempt to detect foetal compromise.
Prenatal tests and scans monitor the healthy growth of your baby at every stage of your pregnancy. It also ensures safety of the mother and the baby during delivery.
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.