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Pregnant —What tests do I need?

If you’ve gotten a positive result? What’s next? After the whirlwind of emotions, it’s time to start your journey. But before you run out and by all the baby books on the market, take the time to enjoy the moment as you begin planning the road to motherhood.

Where to start?

Make the call to your Ob-Gyn to schedule your prenatal visits. You will begin to see your Ob-Gyn around 8 weeks to have a viability ultrasound to confirm a positive pregnancy. This will be an essential visit to help determine your due date, talk about your health history and prenatal tests to make sure you and your baby are getting the best start possible.

Unless there are risk factors, for the first 28-32 weeks you will normally visit once a month. Even before that appointment, you can be proactive in your pregnancy healthcare by taking steps for you and your baby:

  • Quit smoking
  • Quit drinking
  • Take a break- pregnancy hormones can make you tired and more stressed — take the time to relax
  • Keep on moving — exercise is great for you and your baby
  • Take your vitamins
  • Watch for certain foods
  • Be caffeine wise
  • Know what medicines are safe

Why are tests done during pregnancy?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), certain tests are part of routine care during pregnancy. These tests can help find conditions that may increase the risk of complications for you and your fetus. Many problems found by these tests can be treated during pregnancy according to ACOG.

What tests do I need first?

Several lab tests that are done early in pregnancy, include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)*
  • Blood type and Rh factor
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine Culture

Additionally, women are typically tested early in pregnancy for specific diseases and infections including:

  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis B and Hep C
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs)
  • HIV
  • TB

What does a CBC blood test for?

A CBC counts the number of different cells that make up your blood. The number of red blood cells can show whether you have a certain type of anemia. The number of white blood cells can show how many disease-fighting cells are in your blood.

 

Why are ultrasounds done?

Your Ob-Gyn may recommend a variety of screenings, tests, and imaging. According to Johns Hopkins, these tests are designed to provide information about the health of your baby and may help optimize your child’s prenatal care and development. Ultrasounds help to:

  • Establish a due date
  • Determine the number of fetuses and identify placental structures
  • To diagnose an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage
  • To examine the uterus and other pelvic anatomy
  • To detect fetal abnormalities (in some cases)

There are two types of ultrasounds (abdominal/transvaginal) that may be done during the first trimester, mid-trimester (18-20 weeks), and Third Trimester.

What is the Rh Factor?

According to the ACOG, the RH factor is a protein that can be found on the surface of the red blood cells. If your blood cells have this protein, you are Rh positive. If your blood cells do not have this protein, you are Rh negative.

If you are Rh negative and the baby is Rh positive, your body can make antibodies against the Rh factor. ACOG states that this usually does not cause problems in a first pregnancy, when the body normally makes only a small number of antibodies, but it can cause issues in later pregnancy.

Remember your OB-Gyn team will help guide you through using the most advanced technologies available to ensure you and your baby a healthy pregnancy.

 

Educational Resources:

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/common-tests-during-pregnancy#first

https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/routine-tests-during-pregnancy

https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/tests-you-need-during-pregnancy#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/rh-factor/about/pac-20394960

 

 

The information on this site is intended to raise awareness, and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis, or as a substitute for health care by your physician.

 

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