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Medical Tests During Pregnancy

Results from all tests performed during your pregnancy will be reviewed with you at the following office visit. Please do not call our office for test results unless specifically told to do so by your doctor. If any test results are significantly abnormal, you will be called.

Prenatal Panel

During your visit with our OB Coordinator, you will receive a lab slip for a prenatal panel. This should be done as soon as you leave our office. The panel tests for your blood type, anemia, Hepatitis B, HIV and Rubella. Also ordered will be a Hemoglobin A1C, Universal Genetic Testing (counsyl.com) and a urine culture.

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a test that is done to check the baby’s chromosome composition, or DNA. It is most commonly used to detect disorders like Downs Syndrome. This is not a test that is routinely recommended during normal pregnancies – your provider will discuss this with you if they think it is appropriate for you.

Nuchal Thickness Screen

This is performed by ultrasound and measures the “fat pad” on the back of the baby’s neck. It is typically performed between 11 and 12 weeks in pregnancy.

Expanded Maternal Serum Alfa-Feto Protein

This is a blood test performed between 15 and 20 weeks in your pregnancy. It provides information regarding pregnancies at risk for Downs Syndrome, abdominal wall or spine problems with a baby. It also indentifies pregnancies that are at risk for blood pressure, placental and fetal growth problems. This test is voluntary. If the results of this test are abnormal, we will call you. If you get a phone call about this DO NOT PANIC! IT DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR BABY. We will discuss the findings with you, and schedule a specialized ultrasound, and may recommend an amniocentesis. The majority of the time that this test is abnormal, babies are normal! Usually, an abnormal test results in additional testing (non-stress tests) at the end of your pregnancy, and is not anything to be alarmed about.

Diabetic Screen

The hormones of pregnancy increase your risk of developing diabetes. Low-risk women will be screened around 28 weeks. At your 24 week visit, we will give you a lab slip for the Diabetic Screen. You do not have to be fasting for this test, but should avoid drinking or eating something very sugary just prior to the test. This test takes an hour – you will drink a sugar drink at the lab, and then have your blood drawn one hour later. You will be informed of abnormal results by phone; normal results will be reviewed with you at your next office visit.

Hemoglobin / Hematocrit

You will be tested for anemia at the same time as your diabetes test. Anemia is normal for pregnancy, but if your levels are too low, we may ask that you start adding an iron supplement.

Group B Strep

This test is performed in women around 35 or 36 weeks in pregnancy. It involves a q-tip swabbing of your lower vagina and rectal area. Please see handout on Group B Strep.

Non-Stress Test

There are many reasons for performing a not-stress test. This is a method of evaluating fetal and placental well-being during the last trimester of the pregnancy. Your provider will know if you are supposed to be tested, and will discuss this with you. Non-stress testing involves monitoring your uterus for contractions, and the baby’s heart rate through belts placed across your abdomen. We watch for characteristic changes in the fetal heart rate that tells us your placenta is functioning well, and the baby is getting good nutrition and oxygen across the placenta.

Ultrasound

Your insurance company will cover one ultrasound in the pregnancy to evaluate the baby’s anatomy. There are many other reasons to perform ultrasounds, and if more are necessary, we will have them authorized through your insurance company. Learn more about Ultrasound here.

Amniotic Fluid Index

A measurement of the amount of fluid around the baby may be performed by ultrasound for various reasons. If this is a test that is necessary for you, your provider will order it.