Pregnancy Lab Tests

Individuals whose tests are reported as low positive, mid positive or high positive can be considered immune. Those whose tests are negative are not immune. Those with equivocal results should be retested.

It's important to know the rubella immunity status of a pregnant woman so that if she's not immune, she can avoid situations in which she could be infected, and so that immune globulin prophylaxis can be undertaken if she's exposed.

Quad or Triple Screen
Between 15 and 21 weeks, another maternal blood test is offered to screen for an elevated risk of carrying a fetus with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect. The lab reports the finding in terms of risk and assigns a ratio of probability based on the levels of four markers (quad screen) found within the maternal blood. Information such as mother's weight, race and diabetic status is also figured into the analysis. If results show that the mother's risk is higher than indicated by her age alone, a recommendation is made for further testing (specialized ultrasound or amniocentesis). As this test is optional, the medical or nursing staff should provide the couple with adequate information to help them make an informed choice. The most common reason for abnormal results is inaccurate dating of the pregnancy. Levels of the three or four markers vary from week to week, so they must be based on a fairly precise estimate of gestational age.

Vaginal Microscopic Exam
Most pregnant women are screened at their initial visit for vaginal conditions or infections. If results indicate the presence of trichomonas, bacterial vaginosis or yeast, the patient is informed and a treatment plan may be considered. There has been some evidence to show that bacterial vaginosis may lead to increased risk of preterm birth, uterine infection and premature rupture of membranes, but this has not been demonstrated in all studies. Many providers offer oral antibiotics for trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis. Yeast may be treated if the patient is symptomatic.

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