Accompanying the happiness of being pregnant, is the realisation that now you have to undergo a host of pregnancy tests to ensure that you and your baby are in the best of health. The sheer number of tests that you have to undergo may seem a bit overwhelming at first. But you have to remember, these tests are vital to understand your system and predict any complications that may occur further during the pregnancy. The health of your baby as well as your own health has to be monitored at regular intervals. And if the only thing that you have to do for that is give up a few ml of blood and urine samples, and also have someone spread cold jelly all over your belly, then that is not such a bad deal. But you still have to know which tests are essential and which ones can be left out. This article focuses on the types of tests that are essential. Listed below are the most essential pregnancy tests that need to be conducted during your 40-week journey to being a mother.
CBC or Complete Blood Count
A blood test for pregnancy is absolutely essential to find out whether your Red Blood Cells (RBCs), White Blood Cells (WBCs) and platelets are in the normal range. Less RBCs or a low haemoglobin count means that you’re anemic and need to be treated for the condition. Platelets play a vital role in stopping bleeding, which is significant during delivery. You just have to sit back while a medical professional draws out your blood. Squeamish about giving blood? Relax – this is easy-peasy. You’re going to be a mother soon and you’re not squeamish. You’ve got a baby coming soon and this is a piece of cake by comparison.
Tests for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Blood samples will also be drawn to test for STDs like AIDS, Syphilis, Herpes and Hepatitis B and C. These tests are also absolutely essential because HIV and Syphillis have the ability to infect the baby directly in the womb while other infections like chlamydia can infect the baby as it is passing through the birth canal.
Test for Rh factor
Another important pregnancy test is the test for Rh factor in the mother’s as well as the father’s blood. The RH factor is a protein found on the surface of a Red Blood Cell. If it is present then it is said that the person is Rh-positive and vice versa. If the baby in the womb is Rh-positive and the mother is Rh-negative, then this can lead to a complication, since the mother’s immune system will treat the Rh factor in the baby’s blood as a foreign object and launch antibodies against this Rh-positive blood.
The first ultrasound is probably the only test where you will actually be excited to undergo a test. That is because you and the father will finally be able to have a little peek at the little one. Many a hearts have melted just looking at that tiny flicker of a heartbeat. It will be a moment that you shall cherish for all your life. The fetal ultrasound can also be valuable in determining a delivery date and finding out if the child is growing correctly.
Multiple Marker Screening Test
To detect the possibility of genetic disorders, multiple marker screening tests are carried out to detect chromosomal abnormalities like Down Syndrome and Turner Syndrome, among others. However, these tests offer an accuracy of only 64-70% leading to many cases of false positives. The doctor may also recommend Amniocentesis if he feels that the multiple marker test shows signs of an abnormal fetus. Amniocentesis is considered an invasive and a risky procedure that can only be carried out between the 18th and 20th weeks of pregnancy. But there is a much safer alternative to this test and that is called NIPT or Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing, detailed below.
Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
NIPT is the latest and most modern type of prenatal screening test that is essentially a DNA test for the fetus. Cell-free fetal DNA is measured from a simple blood draw from the mother’s arm. This can then be used to detect chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus like Down Syndrome and other genetic anomalies. NIPT is completely non-invasive, that means it does not put the pregnancy at risk as a simple blood draw from the mother’s arm is all that is required. The test may be done any time after the 10th week of pregnancy. MedGenome offers NIPT that can safely detect the possibility of genetic abnormalities in your baby with over 99.8% accuracy. You can book your test here. (link)
The list might look long and the tests might be taxing, but remember, there are two lives at stake here and the doctors have to do everything they can to ensure a smooth pregnancy and delivery. Happy testing!