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Common Tests for Your Baby’s Health During Pregnancy

By Rojer @healthxwellness
Common Tests for Your Baby’s Health During Pregnancy

One of the things you may not be expecting while you are expecting is the number, and variety, of tests you will undergo while pregnant.

Taking good care of yourself during pregnancy is easily the most important way to have a healthy baby. The amount of medical testing that unexpectedly happens to a mother between conception and delivery can feel overwhelming but there are two lives on the line during this time, and it’s vitally important to ensure they both remain healthy. By taking the right tests at the right times, you’ll be ensuring the best possible chance of that occuring.

One of the things you may not be expecting when you are expecting is the number, and variety, of tests you’ll undergo while pregnant. Some of the tests are trimester specific yet others will be performed routinely throughout your pregnancy. If your doctor recommends a test that you’re unfamiliar with don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding the test and what the results for each test mean.

Here are brief descriptions of some of the most common laboratory tests you might be given, starting with those that may be done in the beginning of your pregnancy. Obviously, if you have any underlying health issues, you might be given other tests as well. Talk to your health care provider for those who have questions about testing or any other aspect of your prenatal care that concerns you.

Glucose Tolerance Test

The glucose tolerance test is generally done between weeks twenty-four and twenty-eight. This test is used to determine whether the mother has gestational diabetes. Prior to the test you will not be allowed to eat anything for approximately twelve hours. Once you arrive you will give a blood sample to test your fasting glucose level. You’ll then drink a glucose solution and also have your blood drawn every hour for the next three hours. You won’t be allowed to eat until the testing is finished.


Ultrasounds are usually offered at around 8 weeks and 20 weeks, and women who are high risk may have one nearly every visit. These are to check on baby’s growth and development, position, position of the placenta, and a number of other possible abnormalities (for example, if there is a heart defect or the lungs aren’t developing properly). The most common use is the 20-week ultrasound to measure fetal growth and do a check for major abnormalities. It may also be used to confirm a multiple pregnancy.

Urine Tests

Urine is tested for sugar, which can be a sign of diabetes. It’s also tested for protein, which might indicate preeclampsia? a dangerous condition of pregnancy involving high blood pressure?or perhaps a urinary tract infection. A urine culture might also be completed to look for “silent” urine infections. These symptomless infections can be dangerous during pregnancy, and may even lead to premature labor.

Blood and Serum Tests

There’s two different blood serum tests that are typically performed during the first trimester, the PAPP-A and the hCG. The PAPP-A tests for abnormal amounts of a protein found in early pregnancy that may indicate chromosome abnormalities in the fetus and is usually done plus a sonogram which measures the fetus’ nuchal thickness.

The hCG tests for abnormal levels of a hormone that can also indicate high risk for chromosome abnormalities. During the second trimester you will likely have an AFP blood test. This test is used for any variety of purposes and abnormal readings let doctors know when additional tests are essential. Some of the things this test can indicate are chromosomal abnormalities, twins, along with a miscalculated due date.

Group B Strep Culture

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) are found in a quarter of all women and usually cause no symptoms prior to pregnancy. However, GBS can cause significant problems in both the mother and the baby after delivery otherwise treated. A vaginal and rectal culture is going to be taken between weeks thirty-five and thirty-seven. When the test is positive for the bacteria, an antibiotic will be presented.

Common Tests During Pregnancy

Common Tests During Pregnancy

Contraction Stress Test

A contraction stress test is another means of checking the fetus’s heartbeat, but this time it is measured and recorded as a result of mild contractions of the uterus that are induced during the test. For instance, an infusion of the hormone oxytocin may be used to cause these contractions. By monitoring your baby’s heartbeat during the contractions, your doctor may be able to find out how your baby will react to contractions during the particular delivery; if your baby is not responding favorably during these contractions, the delivery of your baby (perhaps by Cesarean section) may be scheduled prior to your due date.

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