Diagnostic tests basically involve tests that take a sample of the placenta, the amniotic fluid or fetal blood and these are examined for chromosome or genetic abnormalities. It is very important for you to take such tests to ensure and safe pregnancy and healthy delivery.
Understand what are the tests that you could have to appear for.
During the First Trimester
- Physical check up (pelvic exam, Pap smear): An overall assessment of an expectant woman is done to check the proper functioning of vital organs such as heart, thyroid and ruling out any infections. An obstetrical examination of the uterus and pelvic cavity is performed to check abnormal cell growth and presence of infections.
- Screening Tests: Screening tests involves a blood test and ultrasound to help identify potential risk of chromosomal defects such as Down’s syndrome.
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): This test involves analyzing a sample of cells taken from placenta to detect chromosomal defects and genetic disorders.
During the Second Trimester
- Amniocentesis: Amniotic fluid taken from the uterus is studied for chromosomal disorders, neural tube defects and genetic disorders.
- Multiple Marker Screening: Multiple Marker Screening is a blood test to screen potential genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormality.
- Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening (MSAFP): It is a series of blood test done to assess the chances of potential genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities.
- Percutaneous Umbilical Cord Sampling (PUBS): Blood from the umbilical cord is extracted for analysis to detect chromosome abnormalities and blood disorders.
During the Third Trimester
- Fetal Non-Stress Test: This is done to monitor the fetal heart rate in response to fetal movement with the help of fetal monitor. The reason behind this test is to see whether appropriate amount of oxygen is reaching the fetus. This test is done during reduced fetal movement and pregnancy which has gone beyond the due date.
- Group B Streptococcus swab: Vaginal and rectum swabs are taken of a mother which is then cultured in the lab to check the presence of strep B infection (bacterial). A mother can pass the infection to the baby during delivery which can prove to be dangerous for the baby. Although, this test is routinely done in the USA it is not a commonly done test in India.
- Bio-physical Profile (BPP): This test is done to check the health of the fetus. Ultrasound and fetal monitor studies the fetal heart rate and movement. It also checks the breathing, muscle tone and optimum presence of amniotic fluid.
The tests could be helpful but you need to take your doctor's advice on whether to go ahead with them or not, as they may pose as potential threats.
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