Pregnancy is a wonderful time. It is one of the most incredibly things watching your baby grow. It can also be a stressful time for woman. Many pregnant women are worried about both their health and the health of their babies. This is a natural feeling but thanks to reliable technology, many of these risks can be screened for and often prevented.
Many of the tests for the below conditions are non-invasive and involve a blood test, scan or urine test. There are a myriad of tests available but you don’t necessarily need to have them all. Below are some of the conditions that can be picked up with early scanning and some of them are preventable if caught early.
Gestational diabetes: The healthcare practitioner will screen for gestational diabetes at your first visit through either a urine or blood glucose test. A follow up test are usually done at 28 weeks. If gestational diabetes are suspected follow up confirmatory test will be done.
Pre-eclampsia: This needs to be tested for in the 10-13 week of pregnancy and involves a blood test, blood pressure measure, urine test and ultrasound.
Down Syndrome, Trisomy 21,18,13, Cardiac defects, Macrosomia: The test for risk for down syndrome must be done in the first trimester, before 14 weeks. It involves a blood test and ultrasound. This is not a diagnostic test, it is a screening test to assess the risk of carrying a baby with one of these conditions.
Spina Bifida: The screening for spina bifida involves a blood test.
There is a non-invasive biomarker test that can be done in the first trimester, free βhCG and PAPP-A and in the second trimester the triple test can be used to assess the risk of adverse outcomes.
This screening can also identify other outcomes including low birth weight, stillbirth or preterm delivery. If the results of these assessments are more higher than 1:100 then more testing is advised.
Screening for these tests can be stressful but they assess the risk the mother has of developing one of these conditions. Once the mother and health care provider knows the risks they can make the decision to run diagnostic tests and/or whether or not to start preventative treatment.
There have been amazing advancements in technology that includes non-invasive biomarker tests (free βhCG and PAPP-A) which are done in the first trimester. In the second trimester the triple test is done which is AFP, hCG+β, Estriol) The results of these tests are used to assess the risk of adverse outcomes of your pregnancy. Examples of the conditions that can be picked up are low birth weight, stillbirth and/or pre-term delivery. A patient who has results of 1:100 is considered high risk and more testing is recommended. An intermediate risk is 1:100 – 1:1000 and the recommendation is then free DNA testing as this is the most cost effective and accurate logarithm.
PLEASE NOTE: Discuss all test results with your healthcare professional.
If you are concerned about anything during your pregnancy please contact your health care provider. This post was approved by a health care professional but does not take the place of a diagnosis.
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