Explore Common Tests During Pregnancy
Did you know that your baby will have several checkups before it's even born? Pregnancies are marked by three trimesters, each with fetal developments. Throughout the trimesters of your pregnancy, you will undergo a variety of tests and screenings to ensure that your baby is developing properly. Some tests will show exact results and even ultrasound images of your child, while others may be to assess the risks at stake in your pregnancy.
UPMC Susquehanna can help you have a healthy, comfortable pregnancy by offering the latest maternity tests.
First Trimester Tests
Your second appointment will be scheduled at the 12-week mark, and it will involve a series of screenings that include a vaginal exam and blood tests. These procedures and tests help to determine proper development and the risk, if any, of your child having a birth defect. They can determine the likelihood of defects such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or trisomy 13. In the event that the screening tests come back abnormal, Susquehanna Health specialists and genetic counselors will meet with you and/or administer additional tests.
Some tests that are conducted in the first trimester include:
- Ultrasound for fetal nuchal translucency (NT). A nuchal translucency screening test examines the area at the back of the fetal neck for increased fluid or thickening.
- Ultrasound for fetal nasal bone determination. The nasal bone may not be visualized in some babies with certain chromosome abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. This screen is performed using an ultrasound between 11 and 13 weeks gestation.
- Maternal serum (blood) tests. These blood tests measure two substances found in the blood of pregnant women and check for abnormal levels that may lead to chromosome abnormality.
Second Trimester Tests
Between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy, you will receive another series of screenings to check on possible genetic conditions and birth defects. Multiple blood tests give specialists an idea of whether further testing is needed to diagnose a defect or abnormality.
Some abnormal test results may require additional testing in the second trimester, such as:
- Amniocentesis: a procedure that obtains a small sample of amniotic fluid to diagnose chromosomal disorders and defects.
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): a test that obtains a sample of placental tissue to test for chromosomal abnormalities and genetic defects.
- Ultrasounds: A sonogram may be offered for a variety of reasons, including verifying a due date, checking for multiple fetuses, investigating complications such as placenta previa (a low-lying placenta) or slow fetal growth, or detecting malformations like cleft palate.
- Glucose test: Typically performed at 24 to 28 weeks, this is a routine test to measure the level of sugar in your blood for pregnancy-induced diabetes, which can result in overly large babies, difficult deliveries and health problems.
Third Trimester Tests
You should be attending prenatal appointments every two to four weeks up until 36 weeks. By week 37, it will be time for weekly checkups until you give birth.
During this time frame, your doctor may perform the following tests:
- Group B streptococcus screening: your doctor will test you for group B strep in weeks 35 to 37 to make sure your baby isn’t exposed to it.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): this test will depend on your risk factors.
- Nonstress tests: this test measures your baby’s heart rate as they move around.
- Fetal health tests: this test is performed if your doctor suspects your baby is at risk for certain conditions.
If your healthcare provider recommends further maternal testing, count on UPMC Susquehanna to provide you with the latest tests during pregnancy in Williamsport and Wellsboro, PA.