Its important to get a series of prenatal tests done before the baby comes. You should get the normal tests like blood pressure check, urine test, several times during pregnancy. There are also other prenatal tests such as, ultrasound, special blood tests at certain times during pregnancy or you face certain problems. Some prenatal tests can help you find out if your baby has certain health conditions, like birth defects and genetic conditions.
Why you should get them done!
Prenatal tests are medical tests you get during pregnancy. They help your health care provider find out how you and your baby are doing.
Some prenatal tests check for health conditions in your baby, including:
- Birth defects – These are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. Birth defects can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops or how the body works.
- Genetic and chromosomal conditions – These conditions are caused by changes in genes and chromosomes. A gene is part of your body’s cells that stores instructions for the way your body grows and works. A chromosome is the structure in cells that holds genes. A common chromosomal condition is Down syndrome. Sometimes these conditions are passed from parent to child, and sometimes they happen on their own.
You can have several tests in your first trimester (months 1, 2 and 3).
- Carrier screening for genetic conditions.This screening test checks your blood or saliva to see if you’re a carrier of certain genetic conditions that could affect your baby. Carrier screening can be done before pregnancy or during the early weeks of pregnancy. If results show that you or your partner is a carrier, you may be able to find out if your baby has the condition or is a carrier of the condition. All women can have carrier screening for CF, spinal muscular atrophy (also called SMA), thalassemias and hemoglobinopathies.
- Cell-free fetal DNA testing(also called noninvasive prenatal screening or testing). This screening test checks your blood for your baby’s DNA to see if he may have certain genetic conditions, like Down syndrome. This test is done after 9 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider may recommend the test if an ultrasound shows that your baby may have a birth defect or if you’ve already had a baby with a birth defect.
- Chorionic villus sampling(also called CVS). This diagnostic test checks tissue from the placenta to see if your baby has a genetic condition, like Down syndrome. CVS is done at 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider may want you to have CVS if you’re older than 35, if genetic conditions run in your family, or if your first-trimester screening shows that your baby is at increased risk for birth defects.
- First-trimester screening.This screening test includes a blood test and an ultrasound to see if your baby may be at risk for some birth defects, like Down syndrome and heart defects. The test usually is done at 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Your doctor may offer you these prenatal tests in your second trimester (months 4, 5 and 6 of pregnancy):
- Maternal blood screening(also called quad screen). This screening test checks your blood to see if your baby may be at risk for some birth defects. The test is done at 15 to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
- Amniocentesis(also called amnio). Amnio is a diagnostic test of the amniotic fluid from around your baby to see if he has a birth defect or genetic condition, like Down syndrome. The test usually is done at 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider may want you to have an amnio for the same reasons as for CVS. You also may have amnio later in pregnancy to check your baby’s lungs or to see if he has certain infections.
- Glucose screening.This screening test checks to see if you may have gestational diabetes. This is a kind of diabetes that some women get during pregnancy. You get this test at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
In your last trimester (months 7, 8 and 9 of pregnancy), your provider does a test for group B strep (also called GBS). Group B strep is an infection you can pass to your baby during birth. The test checks fluid from your cervix to see if you have GBS. You get this test at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Its better to have these tests and check if your baby is the healthiest it can be before he/she is born!
Ms. Leshani Samaradiwakara is a recent graduate with a BA in Economics and a minor in Psychology and Sociology. She is currently working as a Business Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Business Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the apparel industry, studies the consumer behavior and conducts market research, especially in the area of women health & wellness. She is a enthusiastic individual who is interested in discovering new places, traveling the world, exploring new cultures and meeting new people.