Prenatal Screening And Tests To Expect During Your Pregnancy

Discovering that you are pregnant is an amazing moment- having a child can change your life in a number of wonderful ways. But in order to protect the health of you and your unborn child it is important to seek out prenatal care soon after getting a positive pregnancy test. Comprehensive prenatal care will monitor the health of you and your baby to help ensure that the pregnancy is progressing normally. You can expect to undergo a number of screenings and tests during your pregnancy, including:

Blood Tests

During the first trimester of pregnancy it is common to have blood drawn, and that blood will be used to perform a number of tests. Your obstetrician will need to know your blood type and RH factor, and you will be screened for anemia. If it is discovered that your RH factor is negative, you will need an injection later in your pregnancy to protect your baby from antibodies produced by your immune system that can attack your baby's blood. Anemia is very common in pregnancy; if your obstetrician discovers that you are anemic he or she will likely recommend taking iron supplements, and consuming more iron-rich foods.

STD Panel

It is highly recommended that you have an STD panel done during one of your first prenatal appointments, even if you are in a monogamous relationship. Many sexually transmitted diseases may have no serious symptoms, but if you have an untreated STD it can be harmful for your child. During pregnancy your doctor will likely want to test you for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and herpes.

Glucose Screening/Test

Diabetes is a disease in which your body is not able to regulate blood sugar levels properly. Some woman who do not normally have diabetes may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Untreated gestational diabetes can cause serious problems for both you and your baby, so the vast majority of women are screened for gestational diabetes between 26 and 28 weeks. The screening involves consuming a high glucose drink, and then having your blood drawn to check sugar levels. If you do not pass the initial glucose screening, your doctor will have you take the longer gestational diabetes test.

Group B Strep Test

Group B streptococcus is a common type of bacteria that colonizes in the vagina and digestive tract. While this bacteria does not cause harm to the mother, it can cause a number of serious problems for a baby who is exposed to it during a vaginal birth. Your doctor will test you for group B strep around 36-37 weeks by swabbing your vagina and the area around your rectum; if you are positive for group b strep, you will be given strong I.V. antibiotics during labor and delivery to protect your baby from exposure.

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