Before presenting the main optional tests during the pregnancy that you can decide to have, you’ll have to goto one monthly medical examination, and more often in the last quarter. As in the first prenatal control, which generally occurs around the 6th week, you will get pelvic examinations, blood and urine tests, tension control and of course, periodic scans that will check fetus development, size and his heart beats. The routine tests, necessary when you are pregnant include: urine tests, Rh factor, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, some infections (rubella, hepatitis B). glucose testing, group B streptococcus.
But what optional tests during pregnancy involve?
Some pregnancies present an increased risk and more or less increased probabilities of meeting certain difficulties during pregnancy or at childbirth. These difficulties may be related to an advanced maternal age (a pregnancy over 35 years increases the risk, especially if the future mother didn’t care about her health), a twin or multiple pregnancy, a pregnancy of women suffering from certain physiological problems: diabetes, anemia, asthma, hypertension, obesity.
The risk is also increased if the woman is healthy, but there also are genetically transmitted diseases and fetus malformations in the family history (the Down syndrome is one of the most frequently transmitted). So, when a pregnancy presents a high risk, you may need such optional tests during pregnancy. But you must talk in detail with your doctor, asking him what these analysis involve, because some of them can be risky. You’ll choose after you think very well about the advantages and risks and if you accept them or not.
What are the optional tests during pregnancy?
- The triple or quadruple test. Your doctor may recommend you a blood test called triple or quadruple test in the second pregnancy trimester, whose role is detecting the Down syndrome or neural tube disorders of the fetus. This test measures the level of three or four hormones of pregnancy. The result, however, is not always sure – it guarantees about 70% accuracy.
- Screening. Your doctor may recommend you a blood test and an ecograph in the first pregnancy trimester, that may identify the presence of some fetus anomalies – the Down syndrome, heart malformations, trisomy 18.
- Amniocentesis. If previous tests are positive, you may need their sure confirmation – that can be done through amniocentesis. It may also be recommended if you are older or if there have been genetic anomalies in your family or your husband’s. But it should be approached with caution, because it presents a high risk: The belly (uterus) is pierced with a long needle through which amniotic fluid is taken. Amniocentesis is a risky solution, some women ending up having a spontaneous abortion (but very rarely), so take this test only if you have severe fears or if the screening has clearly detected the possibility of some abnormalities.
- Chorionic villus sampling. The doctor may recommend you to take this test at the end of the first trimester if something has been detected during screening, if you have cases of abnormalities of genetic or chromosomal developments in family or if you are old in age. A small quantity of tissue from the placenta is collected through a tube that enters the vagina. But this test is also risky, so it’s not recommended to do it very often.
- Scans. Generally, you’re not recommended to do more than three-four ecographs during pregnancy: one in the first two quarters and one or two in the last trimester of pregnancy. But of you have certain fears, suffer from certain diseases or have certain discomforts, you can ask to perform several scans that could check the fetus development, his heart beats, his position and amniotic fluid levels. According to medical advice, you may better take more scans, either external or trans vaginal. Scans can be combined with the non-stress test (contractions tress test ) to achieve a high accuracy check of the heart rate and fetus movement.
- Even if your pregnancy doesn’t present a high risk and you enjoy a good health, you should maintain contact with your doctor – choose a doctor that you can trust and who you can talk to. Before choosing your doctor, make sure that he’s willing to offer you advice outside office hours by phone. You must be able to ask him for advice whenever you are dealing with: severe pain, especially in the abdomen, intense confusion states and dizziness, bleeding, deshydratation, and any other persistent discomforts that make you worry.