What Are Some Of The Most Common Tests For Pregnancy?
Your healthcare provider will give you several common tests for pregnancy, along with screenings and imaging techniques. These tests will provide valuable information about your baby’s health and progress toward its growth and development. Several tests are essential, and some that you may choose to undergo. However, we advise you to always listen to your physician’s advice regarding tests.
What are the Common Tests for Pregnancy?
The first pregnancy test involves finding whether you are pregnant. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by several emotions during this time. Most pregnancy tests check the levels of the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone in your body. This is found in the body when the egg has fertilized. There are various types of pregnancy tests, and some of these can be determined at home. However, it is still important to go to the doctor and get a confirmation of the pregnancy.
What are the Types of Pregnancy Tests?
An at-home pregnancy test is the easiest way to determine if you are pregnant, and these are accurate 99 percent of the time. These tests check for the level of hCG in your urine, which can determine if you are pregnant. They are inexpensive, practical, and work in a matter of minutes. Hence this is why they are among the most common tests for pregnancy.
The doctor does a blood test to determine whether you are pregnant. This involves checking the levels of hCG in your blood. However, these are usually not the first test for determining pregnancy since they can be expensive and require lab settings to confirm. Blood tests are mostly used when you have concerns regarding the pregnancy, for example, if you are on fertility medications.
Can a Pregnancy Test be False?
Although the chances are rare, common tests for pregnancy can always give you a false negative or positive result. Many people ask if it is possible to get a negative pregnancy test when pregnant. A false negative result means the test shows you are not pregnant when you are. This can be because of the following:
- Testing very early after missing your period
- Not following the instructions in the manual properly
- Not using the test in the morning when the urine is concentrated
A false positive result means the test shows you are pregnant when you are not. This can be because of the following:
- Contaminated urine cup
- Expired pregnancy kit
- Presence of protein in the urine (caused by kidney damage)
- Some medicines, such as diuretics
- Health issues such as ovarian tumor
This is why it is always important to check with a doctor once you have received an initial test result. Only a lab result will confirm if you are pregnant.
What are the Routine Tests During Pregnancy?
There are certain laboratory tests for pregnant women which can help in understanding how the fetus is growing and can point to any problems or deficiencies. These are also among the common tests for pregnancy. Some of these have been discussed here.
Many genetic issues can be diagnosed before the baby is born. A doctor might suggest a genetic screening test, especially if your family has a history of genetic birth abnormalities. In case you have had a baby previously who was born with similar issues, you can also get a screening for your next baby.
Some of the health issues that genetic screening can determine are:
- Hemophilia A
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Sickle cell disease
Amniocentesis is one of the common tests for pregnancy, which involves taking a small sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus and testing it for chromosomal abnormalities or diseases such as spina bifida. Other tests can also be performed based on the family history of the expectant mother. Amniocentesis is also a way to determine the gender of the baby, which is why it can also be sometimes misused to diagnose the gender before birth.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
Also known as CVS, this prenatal test involves taking a sample of the placental tissue. This tissue contains the same genetic material as the fetus and can be useful in diagnosing many genetic abnormalities as well as other disorders. However, this procedure does not give any information about neural tube defects, so expectant mothers also have to get blood tests done to diagnose those issues.
This is one of the common tests for pregnancy performed, usually in the third trimester. Your physician might want to check the fetal heart rate to see if everything is progressing well. Fetal heart rate monitoring involves checking the beats per minute of the fetus’s heart. Normally, it should lie between 120 to 160 beats every minute.
Any heart rate, either lesser or greater than this, can indicate several health problems. This can also signal that cesarean delivery may be required instead of a normal one.
This is among the most common blood tests during pregnancy. This tests the level of sugar in the mother’s blood since a lot of women can develop gestational diabetes, and this can severely impact the health of the baby. This test is done between 24 to 48 weeks after confirming the pregnancy. If the glucose levels are off the charts, it indicates gestational diabetes.
Group B Strep Culture
GBS or Group B streptococcus is a variant of bacteria found in the lower genital tract of some women. GBS infections do not cause any significant health problems before pregnancy, but they can lead to serious problems in expectant mothers. Group B Strep Culture is among the common tests for pregnancy. GBS can lead to postpartum infection as well as infection of the placental tissues, which can lead to life-threatening infections in newborn children. Urinary tract infections caused by GBS can lead to preterm birth.
Expectant mothers are screened for GBS between 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. It is important to diagnose this as early as possible so that the infection is not passed on to the baby. Expectant mothers are treated with antibiotics, which reduces the chances of GBS passing on to the baby.
We have spoken about the common tests during pregnancy, including the common blood tests during pregnancy. As we have seen, common tests for pregnancy can often lead to false results, and it is advised to visit a doctor to confirm the pregnancy.
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