Prenantal Trimester Tests

Information on different trimester prenatal blood and urine tests for pregnant woman.

When you first discover you are pregnant, life is absolute bliss! Every child you see reminds you of the fact that in a few months, you will be bringing your own child into the world very soon. A child crying brings you close to tears and every pregnant woman you spy suddenly becomes your best friend. The only things that can make a pregnant woman wince during this time of elation are the numerous prenatal tests she will take during her three trimesters. If you hate having blood drawn, then you will have to get used to it with all the different tests that your obstetrician will require. Here are the different prenatal tests you will more than likely be required to take, broken down by trimester.

First Trimester

* Get used to taking a urine test each time you come into your prenatal appointments, so drink a lot of water before your appointments. This urinalysis is done to test the protein in your urine as well as the sugar present in your urine. It will also test for any possible infections in the kidney or bladder.

* During your first prenatal appointment, you may have to take a series of blood tests that will help determine your blood type, test for anemia, test for infectious diseases (i.e. syphilis and hepatitis B) and test for antibodies or infection of rubella (otherwise known as German measles). A blood test will also be done to determine your Rh factor. The Rh factor is a protein that is located on the surface of your red blood cells. You may wonder why this test is done. If the mother is not a carrier of the Rh factor and the baby growing inside of her is, then the mother's body may decide to produce antibodies that strike against her baby's blood cells. The result of this can be something as simple as the presence of jaundice when the baby is a newborn or something as tragic as a stillbirth.

* After two and half to three months after a pregnant woman's last menstrual period, she may be given a CVS test (Chorionic Villus Sampling). Usually, a CVS test is offered to women who are 35 years of age or older, who have a history of genetic problems in their family or who have children that have genetic disorders. The CVS test is used to test for abnormalities in the chromosomes or genes (i.e. Down syndrome).

* If you have not had one in the past year, your obstetrician will more than likely give you a routine Pap test, or pelvic exam. This test will check for any type of abnormal condition that could lead to cancer, such as cervical cancer. This test will also help determine if there are any infections or sexually transmitted diseases (i.e. chlamydia or gonorrhea).

* In the first trimester, your obstetrician may schedule an ultrasound to simply confirm the pregnancy and give an approximate due date.

Second Trimester

* You will still be taking a urinalysis each time you go in to see your obstetrician, so always be prepared. It will be the first thing you do when you get there.

* Two tests that you will probably be offered, but that you do not necessarily have to take, are the AFP test (maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein) and the triple screen test (multiple marker screening). These tests are run to test for chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.

* If you are over the age of 35, your obstetrician will probably suggest that you have an amniocentesis.In a nutshell, an amniocentesis tests for birth defects and genetic disorders. If you have had an abnormal ultrasound or abnormal results from an AFP or triple screen test, then you may also be advised to undergo an amniocentesis.

Third Trimester

* Again, don't forget about those urine tests at the beginning of each of your appointments.

* You will have a final ultrasound in this month to make sure your baby is growing properly and is a healthy weight and height.

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