Medical Tests to Expect During Your Pregnancy
To ensure the health of you and your baby, your provider will order certain laboratory tests during your pregnancy. Together with your medical history, physical examinations, and possibly other tests (e.g. ultrasound and fetal non-stress test), the results of your laboratory workup will enable your provider to evaluate your health status more thoroughly.
The following describes the significance of the tests your provider will order.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Gives the number of red and white blood cells in your blood along with information about your blood’s hemoglobin content and other indicators. The CBC is a test for anemia and the presence of infection.
Determines your blood group and Rh type and is important early in pregnancy to evaluate the possibility of incompatibility between your blood and your baby’s blood.
Performed to detect substances your body may produce during your pregnancy if your blood is not compatible with your baby’s blood.
Ordered to determine whether or not you have had or have been vaccinated against German measles.
Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test (VDRL)
Tests for Syphilis.
Toxoplasmosis is a blood disease hosted in cats and other animals. If you have had recent exposure to cats, you should let your provider know as he/she may wish to test for a recent infection.
Screening test for neural tube defects (open spine) and Down ’s syndrome and may be performed during weeks 15 to 20 of your pregnancy.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) antibody
Tests your blood for the presence of antibodies to the AIDS virus.
Your provider may decide to order one or more of several hepatitis markers for the detection of a possible infection and the prevention of transmission to your baby.
Performed to detect urinary tract infections and the presence of protein in your urine. A urine sample will be needed at each of your prenatal visits.
Also called blood sugar tests, are typically done on a blood sample drawn one hour after drinking a measured amount of glucose solution as a screening test for gestational diabetes. These tests may be followed up with a glucose tolerance test for diagnosis. This test is generally done around 28 week’s gestation.
Also called a pap smear, should be part of your first prenatal visit as a screening to detect cervical cancer.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
These cervical cultures will be taken at the time of your pap smear to detect the presence of infections that may adversely affect the outcome of your pregnancy.
Cystic Fibrosis Screening
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that causes patients to have high levels of sodium and chloride (salt) in their sweat. It also causes patients to have a thick, sticky mucous in the lungs which causes persistent coughing, wheezing, and frequent lung infections (including pneumonia). It can often affect a child’s ability to gain weight because CF causes very low amounts of pancreatic enzymes. Knowing your family history (particularly if you know of a relative who had or has CF or is a CF Carrier) and your ethnic background are important in deciding if CF Carrier Testing is important for you and your baby. This test is optional and you can choose to decline.