Soon after you learn that you are expecting a baby, it is important that you make a trip to your doctor and schedule a series of prenatal tests.? Regular prenatal visits are essential throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you and your baby are healthy all throughout.? Prenatal testing is also important even during the first trimester to help check if there are any health problems in the mother or the baby. Prenatal tests are also used to try to detect certain types of abnormalities in the baby as well as to determine certain characteristics of the baby such as sex, size, and his position in the uterus.
So, what are the different prenatal tests that are administered during the first trimester?? Your doctor may ask you to have a First Trimester screen which includes a blood test and an ultrasound evaluation or the Chorionic Villus Sampling, also called CVS, which is recommended under certain conditions.? ?The First Trimester Screen refers to a noninvasive and optional evaluation that combines the maternal blood tests with the fetus? ultrasound evaluation.? This test is done to determine if there is a risk for chromosomal abnormalities such as Trisomy-18 and Down Syndrome Trisomy-21.? They also test the nuchal translucency which can identify any fetal abnormalities that need immediate attention like cardiac disorders. Other tests which your health provider may include depending on the circumstances are an HIV test, a urine test, and a physical examination which may include a Pap test.
Prenatal blood tests are used to determine your blood type particularly your Rh type.? Your pregnancy may be at high risk if you are Rh negative and your partner is Rh positive.? They are also used to measure your hemoglobin content which will determine if you?re at risk of having anemia.?? Prenatal blood tests are also used to detect any signs of infections like syphilis, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, and toxoplasmosis.
The Chronic villus sampling or CVS, on the other hand, is recommended only for those women who have an increased risk of having a child with a genetic or chromosomal problem.? CVS is a diagnostic test that detects genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome, Turner syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Tay-Sachs disease, to name a few. This kind of prenatal testing is performed sometime between the 11th week and 12th week of pregnancy.
A urine sample is tested to determine kidney, bladder, and urinary tract infection. The physical exam may include examining the opening of your cervix or uterus and your vagina to determine if there are any abnormalities or infections. The size of the uterus and the cervix helps in confirming the specific stage of the pregnancy.? Pap test will also be performed to check for the presence of infections such as HPV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
During your prenatal visit, don?t feel hesitant to share with your health care provider any past issues like drug abuse, domestic abuse, and abortion so they can find the best prenatal care for you and your baby.? This is the best time for you to discuss any questions regarding use of medication, sex in pregnancy, hesitations you might be feeling about undergoing any requested prenatal tests, and other issues that you think are important for your peace of mind.