Pregnancy is the period of time when a fetus develops inside a woman’s uterus and ends with the birth of infant. All pregnant women receive a variety of tests typically used prior to and throughout pregnancies. Doctors recommend some prenatal tests for all pregnant women. Only some women will need other screening tests to check for certain genetic problems. The tests provide useful information from the time pregnancy is first considered through the initials days of the newborn’s life.
The purposes of prenatal tests are to screen for and diagnose any existing problems that may affect the mother’s or baby’s health, identify and address problems as they arise, and assess the risk of a baby having a chromosomal or genetic disorder.
Common Tests During Pregnancy:
There are some common tests which must be tested during pregnancy, those are explained in the below:
1. Blood group:
Blood group is important to pregnant women, just in case of transfusion of blood during pregnancy or birth.
2. Rhesus (Rh) factor:
Rhesus status also very important to know for health care provider. If rhesus positive (Rh D positive), a particular protein present in mother’s red blood cells. If rhesus negative (Rh D negative) and baby’s dad is positive, there’s a good chance that baby will be rhesus positive, too. In this case, mother’s body may produce antibodies that start to attack baby’s red blood cell. To prevent this attack, immunoglobulin injection must be given at 28 weeks.
3. Two maternal serum (Blood) test:
Pregnancy-associated plasma protein screening (PAP-A) and Human chronic gonadotropin (h Cg) are two blood protein and hormone that produced in early pregnancy. An abnormal level of both of them indicates chromosomal abnormality of fetal.
4. Glucose tolerance test:
A glucose tolerance test, usually conducted in the 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, measures levels of sugar (glucose) in the mother’s blood. Abnormal glucose levels indicate gestational diabetes.
5. Urine tests:
A urine test is a routine test used by healthcare provider of prenatal care during pregnancy. A urine tests is used to assess bladder or kidney infections, diabetes, dehydration and preeclampsia by screening for high levels of sugars, proteins, ketones and bacteria.
6. Ultrasound scan:
An ultrasound scan is a diagnostic technique uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs. During pregnancy ultrasound also help to identify normal fetal growth and verify the due date.
7. Ultrasound for fetal Nuchal Translucency (NT):
Nuchal translucency screening uses an ultrasound test to examine the area at the back of the fetal neck for increased fluid or thickening. It’s help to assess risk of having Down Syndrome (DS) and other chromosal abnormalities.
An amniocentesis is a procedure used to obtain a small sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus to diagnose chromosomal disorders and open neural tube defects (ONTDs), such as Spina Bifida.
9. Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test:
The VDRL test is a screening test for syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease. VDRL test is a routine integral part of prenatal care during pregnancy. It measures substances, called antibodies that body may produce if pregnant women come in contact with the bacteria that cause syphilis. This bacterium is called Treponema pallid-um. Syphilis is a preventable cause of miscarriage, still birth or congenital disease. The test is similar to the newer Rapid Plasma Regain (RPR).
Universally all pregnant women should be screened for hepatitis B during each pregnancy before delivery. It is crucial to identify pregnant women who have hepatitis B in order to protect their unborn child from the virus. Testing is especially important for women who fall into a high – risk group such as ethnic background, occupation or lifestyle. Prenatal HBV transmission can be prevented by identifying HBV infected pregnant women and providing hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine to their infants within 12 hours of birth. Positive women should be referred to liver specialist for further evaluation.
11. HIV/ AIDS:
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. All pregnant to be are offered a blood test to detect HIV and AIDS. The virus is most commonly passed from person to person via body fluids, blood, breast milk and contaminated niddle. HIV can also be passed from mum to her baby during pregnancy and birth. If mum have HIV, good treatment and care can reduce this risk to a very low level for baby. That’s why it’s important to know as early as possible whether mum have HIV.