Pregnancy being a crucial period, expectant mothers are often worried about the health, development and safety of the baby. The significance of prenatal tests is that they confirm the normal progress of pregnancy. Routine check-ups will help the gynaecologist to rule out the possibilities of birth defects and developmental abnormalities. And if any threatening conditions are found in the foetus, they can be treated with the help of modern medical technology.
Important Blood Tests
There are several blood tests done to ensure the health of the mother, which in turn ensures the healthy development of the foetus. One of the most important tests is ‘Rh factor blood test’. This test determines the blood typing (ABO group) Rh typing (positive or negative) of the mother. If the mother has a negative blood group, then precautions will be taken to protect the baby from any possible risk during delivery.
While a blood test that determines the blood count of the mother rules out the possibility of anaemia which can hinder the development of the foetus, another measures the glucose level and keeps track of the possibility of gestational diabetes. STD screening is an important process during pregnancy. It rules out the presence of all sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and hepatitis B. Negligence to these diseases can have serious impacts on the development of the baby.
In a normal pregnancy with no particular risks involved, three scans are performed to ensure the healthy development of the baby. Viability scan is the first scan of the pregnancy and it is done between 6-10 weeks. It is an ultrasound examination that determines the number of embryos present in the uterus. It also determines if the pregnancy is progressing normally in the first few weeks.
The second scan will be performed within 11-14 weeks of pregnancy and it checks for any developmental abnormalities. It is called Nuchal scan or NT scan. The goal is to look for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, birth defects and body development of the baby.
The third scan is called routine anomaly scan and it is performed between 18-23 weeks. During this, the gynaecologist will look for the growth of vital internal organs including heart, kidneys, brain and facial features. Any major anomaly will be spotted during this scan.
Tests such as amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling are also carried out to detect genetic disorders. Apart from these tests and scans, urine test and blood pressure test are also performed regularly to check up on urinary tract infection and preeclampsia condition to make pregnancy smooth and safe.