From the moment you first find out you’re pregnant, to the day your baby is born a range of tests will be available to you. These tests are aimed at monitoring the development of your baby.
Pregnancy Screening Tests
From these samples, your healthcare provider will look at:
- Your blood group
- Your iron levels
- Presence of any infections
- Maternal diabetes
- Whether you’re immune to rubella (german measles).
- First Trimester – will confirm how many babies you can expect and helps calculate your estimated due date
- Second Trimester – is carried out around 18-20 weeks in, the sonographer will be looking at the placenta and overall development. Further, this is when you can find out the gender of your child. Just remember that it’s not 100% accurate
- Third Trimester – as you get closer your due date an ultrasound may be offered to check the positioning of your placenta, the fluid levels around your baby and their development and growth.
Nuchal Translucency Test (NT)
- At the same time as your first trimester ultrasound, you’ll be offered this test to assess the risk of your baby having Down syndrome
- During this test, the fluid at the back of your baby’s neck is measured, most babies with Down syndrome have more fluid
- It’s important to remember that this is only an estimate and more tests will need to be done to confirm.
Maternal Serum Screening Test (MSST)
- A blood test that may help determine the risk of your unborn baby being affected by defects such as Down syndrome and spina bifida
- This test can be done in the first or second trimester
- Make sure you discuss your results with your healthcare professional.
High Risk Pregnancy Tests
There may be complications in some pregnancies. Complications may be due to an increased risk from factors such as family history or something picked up during one of the earlier tests.
There are further tests that can be performed to assess individual situations. Some of these tests may be invasive and therefore may carry certain risks.
It is important to speak to your healthcare provider and understand your options and your risks before embarking on either of these tests.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
- Best to be undertaken at 10-14 weeks
- Takes a sample of the placental tissue via a slender needle inserted in your abdomen
- It is carried out in conjunction to an ultrasound to guide the needle
- As your placenta is made of the same cells as your baby, this sample will allow your healthcare provider to check for genetic or metabolic abnormalities.
- Your doctor may offer this test if CVS results aren’t definitive
- Takes a sample of the baby’s amniotic fluid again via a slender needle guided by an ultrasound
- Cells found in this amniotic fluid are examined for chromosomal abnormalities
- Once carried out and your healthcare provider can guide you through the results.