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1-2-3: Your First Trimester Screenings And Tests

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By mia bolaris-forget

Most people don’t announce their “good news” until they are “in the clear”, which typically means at the end of or past their first trimester of pregnancy. This because, typically the first three months of conception are the most crucial and fraught with more poking, prodding and tests. Here is just a bit of what you can expect.

· Preliminary blood work: Starting with your initial prenatal appointment, you can expect your doctor to take a host of various tests starting with pinpointing your blood type. Your blood’s will also be tested for Rh content, a protein found in 85% of the population , and if the results come back negative, you’ll likely be put on injections or meds commonly known as RhoGAM when you hit the 28 or 29 week mark and again around 72 hours prior to delivery to help prevent delivery problems. In addition your OB will look at your levels of human chronic gonadotropin, a hormone produced by the fetus that reveals how well the baby is developing. You can also expect a hemoglobin check or red or whit cell counts which can indicate anemia or infection. Last but not least, you will be tested for Hepatitis B, Syphilis and other STDs, HIV and for your immunity to German measles.


· Prepare for a pap smear: Besides the standard blood work (discussed above) your initial pre-natal visit will also include a pap smear checking for infections and STDs such as HPV. Gonorrhea or Chlamydia.

· Pee tests: And you thought it was over with your positive pregnancy result. Not so. In fact, you can expect a urine test at every appointment, so that your OB can check your glucose levels and screen for gestational diabetes. He or she will also check protein levels indicating preeclampsia or a urinary tract infection. And, in either case its likely your doctor will order further testing.

· Ultrasound screenings: Typically you can expect two during your pregnancy; one at around the 10 week mark, testing the fetal heartbeat and confirming a uttering (rather than ectopic or tubular) pregnancy, and another, more detailed sono at between 18 and 22 weeks. At this time your baby will be measured from crown to rump as well as around the waist and head confirming proper development and growth. In addition, the kidneys, baldder, stomach, brain, spine, sex organs and four heart chambers will be looked at and checked for normal growth and development and the possibility of any potential problems. The unltrasound tech will also screen for amniotic fluid levels, location of the placenta and fetal heart rate. Lastly, a late pregnancy ultrasound may be needed to check for pre-term labor via measuring the cervix length.

· Nuchal Transulucency Screening (NTS):A specialty ultrasound conducted between week 11 and week 14 to check for Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders, and for congenital heart defects. Although this test does not offer definitively conclusive results, it can tell if there is a significant risk factor and give you the opportunity to think about doing more tests.

· Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): An option screening that tests for genetic disorders including Tay-Sachs and sickle cell anemia, as well as ruling out chromosomal disorders such as Down Syndrome. This test can also give you a heads up on your baby’s gender with total accuracy and is typically conducted at around 10 to 12 weeks into your pregnancy and involves an analysis of genetic material taken from a tiny piece of the placenta.


Long Island Pregnancy Articles > 1-2-3: Your First Trimester Screenings And Tests

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