Routine tests during pregnancy are the best ways to ensure that you are indeed proceeding in a healthy way. From the moment you get pregnant, your doctor will refer to multiple tests to make sure that the baby is in a safe condition. However, it does not mean you’ll have to get all the tests done at once. There are certain times that require you to go through certain tests.  

Each of these tests detects different factors in the body that can pass onto the fetus or anything that might be present in the fetus, too.  

Attending all of these routine tests during pregnancy is very important, as doctors may be able to start treating it before things get too serious.  

But more to-be mothers, especially the first timers, get utterly confused about these tests. The fear in them is natural as they have no idea what to anticipate.  

But worry not, we got your back. In this article, we shall discuss all the routine tests that are mandatory during pregnancy and what you should expect from each of them.  

Types Of Routine Tests During Pregnancy  

Types Of Routine Tests During Pregnancy

There are two main types of prenatal tests that are performed during pregnancy. They are:  

Screening tests: Prenatal screening tests may identify if the baby is more or less likely to have any birth defects, some of which may even be genetic disorders. These tests include blood tests, certain types of ultrasound, or prenatal cell-free DNA screening tests. Prenatal screening tests are generally offered either during the first or the second trimester of pregnancy. However, screening tests cannot give you a definitive diagnosis.  If the results do hint that there is, in fact, a chance of any genetic disorder, your doctor will immediately suggest you go for a diagnostic test to confirm the results.  

Diagnostic tests: If the screening test does come up with a problem, or if your age or family history puts you at a higher level of risk of having a baby with genetic issues, it is better to go for a non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test. There is no other way to confirm a diagnosis than a diagnostic test. However, some of these diagnostic tests, like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, carry a small risk of miscarriage.  

Routine Tests During Pregnancy 

Here is a detailed list of all the tests that are required to be done during pregnancy. Remember, these are routine checks, so regardless of the type of pregnancy or anything fairly related to it, the doctor will do these tests on you to check for your and your baby’s health. These are mainly tests with low risks and can be done pretty easily in the doctor’s office or your regular health clinic. Many of these tests are specific to the different trimesters of pregnancy.  

External Fetal Monitoring  

At each prenatal visit, your healthcare provider will use the fetoscope to measure the heartbeat of your baby. When it is time for their birth, the nurse or the doctor will strap the monitor to the mother’s belly to get a constant update on the heartbeat of the baby.  

Blood Tests  

Throughout the pregnancy, doctors will suggest that pregnant women go through a number of routine blood tests to check on the progress of the pregnancy, the mother’s health, and the health of the baby. For the blood test, your doctor will ask a technician from a phlebotomy lab to take blood samples from the mother. The lab will further send the blood samples to a larger lab to check for the levels of hormones and markers. They will go through the reports and inform the mother about them.  

Ultrasound  

Ultrasound tests are the most common screening tests when it comes to pregnant women. However, ultrasound tests are not just one. There are a few different types of ultrasound screening methods: 2D, 3D, and 4D. Depending on the machine the hospital has, the training the doctors have received, and the particular needs of your pregnancy, you might have to do different types of ultrasound tests during your pregnancy.  

2D Ultrasound  

Two-dimensional, or 2D, ultrasounds are the most common types of ultrasound tests. In this test, the doctor takes a flat photograph of the uterus, cervix, and the baby.  

3D Ultrasound  

The three-dimensional ultrasound requires a special machine. The image here gives information about the height, weight, and depth of features seen in the images. This can be particularly useful for screening and diagnosing special conditions during pregnancy.  

4D Ultrasound  

The four-dimensional ultrasound is the latest development in ultrasound screening during pregnancy. 4D imaging allows the doctor to see a constantly updated 3D image to develop a video of the baby as it moves.  

When it comes to 4D ultrasound, there are mainly two types of it: 

Abdominal Ultrasound  

During the abdominal ultrasound, the doctor puts gel on the stomach and glides the small sensor on the gel to get images of the baby.  

Transvaginal Ultrasound  

Transvaginal ultrasound is mainly performed during the early pregnancy days. It uses a small sensor that has the shape of a want and is coated with the slippery gel. The want is then placed in the vagina to get images of the uterus, cervix, and the baby.  

Urinary Tests  

At most of the prenatal visits, the doctor will ask you to give a simple urine sample. You will just pee in a cup that your doctor will send to the lab for testing. A urine test usually looks for markers such as glucose, blood cells, and proteins.  

Glucose Challenge Test  

The glucose challenge test usually happens during pregnancy to check how your body uses the glucose present in the blood. This helps the doctor if you need to undergo tests to confirm the chances of gestational diabetes. It is a type of diabetes that develops mainly during pregnancy and may vanish right after birth.  

During the glucose challenge test, you will have to drink a sugar mix. An hour later, you will have to give your blood sample, and your doctor will send it away to a laboratory for testing. If the glucose level in the blood comes back high, your doctor will ask you to get a glucose tolerance test done.  

Less Common Routine Tests During Pregnancy 

Less Common Routine Tests During Pregnancy

The tests mentioned above are the ones that are most common during pregnancy. Every woman who has once gone through pregnancy surely has experienced the abovementioned tests. But, there are a few tests that your doctor might suggest depending on risk factors and the screening results of your general screening tests.  

Glucose Tolerance Test  

If your glucose challenge test shows that you have higher levels of glucose in your blood, your doctor will suggest a glucose tolerance test to further confirm the results. For this kind of testing, you will have to fast on the day of your testing. You will only have to drink water. You will have to give your blood sample and then drink a sugar mix. Within the next couple of hours, you will give a few more blood samples so that the doctor can study the glucose levels in your blood.  

Genetic Screening And Diagnosis  

There are certain genetic conditions that can be diagnosed even before birth. Your doctor might suggest you go for the genetic screening test if you fall under the high-risk group. Mothers who are at a higher risk include women beyond the age of 30 or those with a history of genetic disorders in their families.  

Genetic Screening And Diagnosis

Some birth defects that the genetic screening test can detect are:  

  • Cystic fibrosis  
  • Down syndrome  
  • Fragile X syndrome  
  • Spina bifida  
  • Hemophilia A  
  • Sickle cell disease  
  • Polycystic kidney disease  
  • Tay-Sachs disease  

However, you should know that genetic screening or diagnosis for any birth defect during pregnancy is totally optional. While some parents prefer knowing the risks of birth defects in their baby even before birth, others would refrain from going through such tests before birth.  

Amniocentesis  

If you and the doctor agree that it is indeed warranted, they will get ahead with an amniocentesis to look for any genetic defects. In this test, the doctor will place a thin, long needle through the belly to draw out a very small sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Ultrasound images will be used to guide the needle into your amniotic sac. Then, the sample will be sent to the lab for genetic testing.  

Chorionic Villus Sampling  

CVS mainly involves drawing out a small sample of the placenta to test it for any genetic defects.  

Prenatal Cell-Free DNA Testing  

Prenatal cell-free DNA testing, also known as noninvasive prenatal screening, is a newer process for screening for any genetic defects. Because there are flecks of the baby’s DNA in the mother’s blood during pregnancy, this test makes use of the mother’s blood sample to look for any problem in the baby. This is one of the safest genetic screening tests among the rest.  

Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling  

Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, or cordocentesis, involves taking a small sample of the baby’s blood from the mother’s umbilical cord for testing. However, this test is not as common as CVS or amniocentesis.  

Internal Fetal Monitoring  

Sometimes, at the time of delivery, the doctor will have to perform internal fetal monitoring to know about the heartbeat of the baby. For the test, the doctor will break the amniotic sac. Then, they will go on to place a long tube through the cervix. The tube has a censor right at the end of it. It is put on the scalp of the baby to send the heart rate information to the monitor.  

How Can Tests Help With Your Pregnancy? 

How Can Tests Help With Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one journey that is a definition of joy and wonder, but it also demands rigorous care. Prenatal tests play a substantial role in safeguarding both your and the baby’s health and well-being.  

Prenatal tests have a remarkable ability to uncover all the hidden concerns that women have during pregnancy. Ultrasound screenings, blood tests, and genetic screenings, for instance, can help examine the wellness of the mother and the baby side by side.  

These tests help in the identification of all the possible complications like chromosomal abnormalities and gestational diabetes at a very basic stage. This allows for the proper treatment of these complications before they get too serious to deal with.  

Depending on the results of these tests, doctors develop personalized care plans to follow during pregnancy. These plans address very specific needs, ensuring that the pregnancy remains on a healthy path. Whether it is adjusting the diet, administering the treatments, or planning for any special care, these tests can help guide your doctor offer you optimal support.  

Prenatal tests also help doctors offer protection against unpredicted threats. They help detect blood compatibility issues, infections, and other possible complications even before they happen. With the help of these data, doctors take preventive measures to reduce such risks and ensure a seamless journey to motherhood.  

Are Routine Tests During Pregnancy Accurate?  

Are Routine Tests During Pregnancy Accurate

Most of the routine tests done during pregnancy are 100 percent accurate, giving the most reliable information about the health of both the mother and the baby. However, the accuracy of some of the tests may vary depending on the particular test and its specific purpose.  

Here is a general outline of how accurate these actually are:  

  • Blood type and Rh factor tests: 100 percent accuracy.  
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): High accuracy.  
  • Glucose Screening for Gestational Diabetes: Accurate when conducted as per the recommended guidelines.  
  • Genetic Screening Tests: 99 percent accuracy. 

Risks Of Prenatal Tests During Pregnancy 

Risks Of Prenatal Tests During Pregnancy

Routine prenatal tests during pregnancy are too important for the health of the mother and the baby. However, these tests do come with certain risk factors that pregnant mothers need to think about.  

Some of the most common risks associated with these risks are:  

  • False negatives and false positives  
  • Invasive processes  
  • Psychological and emotional impact of prenatal tests  
  • Risk of infections  
  • Accessibility and cost of prenatal testing  

The Bottom Line  

Routine tests during pregnancy play a major role in determining the health of the mother and the baby during pregnancy. Being a very vulnerable time, it is important that mothers get to know if there is any complication related to their pregnancy that needs to be sorted as soon as possible.  

From blood tests or ultrasounds to genetic tests, these tests ensure utmost accuracy. Your doctor further creates a personalized prenatal care routine catering to your wellness and that of your baby.

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