Tests Performed During Pregnancy

Excerpt from Every Woman's Body

Prenatal Testing
Women who have chronic health problems or unusual health histories will have more tests than most women, although not all health care providers use the same tests and procedures. In addition to checking your baby's growth and position at each visit, common procedures include:

  • Complete physical and medical history, including pelvic exam, urine test, blood pressure, and weight check
  • Tests for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Complete blood count to look for anemia or iron deficiency
  • Blood typing
  • Blood glucose tests to screen for diabetes. It's thought that gestational diabetes is found most often in nonwhite low- income women and occurs in about three percent of pregnancies, though some researchers think this figure is overstated. The use of this test is controversial because there is no universally accepted rule of who should take the test, nor what a safe blood level is--that is, what is a troublesome number in some laboratories across the country is not in others. What's worse is that based on this test, only 25 percent of those women who are told they are at risk for diabetes ever develop this disease.
  • Hepatitis B antibody test

A variety of prenatal tests and procedures can be used to determine fetal health, including amniocentesis, alpha-fetoprotein screening--including the more reliable triple marker blood test, also known as the multi-screen test, chorionic villi sampling, ultrasound, and electronic fetal monitoring (EFM).

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