As soon as one conceives, she is advised to consult a doctor and rightly so, for the various changes a female undergoes during this most special phase of life requires regular monitoring.
Any deviation from the normal progression of pregnancy can be detected and treated on time if we keep a close watch.
Thus, a pregnant lady must have regular, routine check-ups and tests done on time to avoid any complication or stress later.
Though the screenings and diagnostic tests may vary from case to case depending upon the family and medical history as well as the age of the mother, following is a compilation of some important tests during pregnancy that is almost essential to track the healthy development of the baby.
- Regular monitoring of weight, blood pressure, baby’s growth corresponding to the fetal age, fetal heart rate is done on almost all the antenatal visits throughout the pregnancy.
- Initially, the patient may see a doctor once a month during the first and second trimester i.e. first six months, followed by twice monthly for the next 2 months and weekly from the 9th month onwards.
- Routine blood tests to be done during the first few visits include tests for anemia, thyroid, gestational diabetes, liver function tests, calcium or Vitamin D deficiency, blood grouping, test for STDs particularly HIV/AIDS In case of abnormal findings, the test may be repeated in later months.
- Urine should also be tested for any infection, protein or sugar.
- Physical examination of the breasts, abdomen, cervix and/or ultrasound will also be performed by your doctor during those visits.
- In the first trimester, a special screening test known as a double marker test is advisable to detect any chromosomal or birth defects particularly Down’s syndrome or Edwards Syndrome. It is important to get tested for birth defects on time as these can have a life-long impact on the mental and physical health of the baby and can even, result in stillbirth or miscarriage.
- Double marker test is a blood test that checks the level of free beta HCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) and PAPP-A (Pregnancy Associated plasma protein A) in the maternal blood that guides towards the possibility of a birth defect. In case of couples at higher risk such as the age of the mother over 35years or a family history of genetic disorders or positive double marker tests, Chorionic Villus sampling test might be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
- A Nuchal translucency (NT) scan can be done in addition, to further confirmation.
- Also, let your doctor know of any discomfort or unpleasing symptom you may be experiencing throughout your pregnancy schedule.
- Watch out for swelling legs, excessive vomiting, spotting or bleeding and inform at the earliest. In later months, you should feel the baby’s movements at regular intervals and the absence of which should be notified immediately.
- In the second trimester around15-18 weeks, a triple marker test is advised which is similar and more advanced to the double marker test. This test indicates the progress of pregnancy according to the stage, twin or triplet pregnancies, neural tube defects such as spina bifida, etc. in addition to other genetic or chromosomal disorders.
- In the case of a positive triple marker test, amniocentesis is generally, performed for confirmation of diagnosis.
- A glucose tolerance test is done usually, at the first visit and then at 24-28 weeks of gestation to checks for any gestational diabetes.
All these tests during pregnancy are vital for the health of both mother as well as a baby as any abnormality if detected on time, can help save a life-long predicament.
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY….
WE WISH YOU A HAPPY AND SAFE PREGNANCY!!
Author: Dr. SameerMale Hormone Studies Package DSH Wellness A Profile Package