Throughout pregnancy, tests are performed to assess the health of the mother and that of the growing child. These protocols may differ according to the medical facility or when certain risk factors are present with the mother or the family history of the parents. The health of the mother is paramount to the health of the baby. Early screenings during the first trimester include complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia, blood type, and RH antibodies to screen for RH incompatibility. Screenings are also performed to rule out certain diseases that could harm or be passed onto the child. These include Hepatitis, Syphilis, Rubella, HIV, urinalysis to screen for infections and kidney disease (Kaiser Permanente, 2018). If any abnormalities are found, the conditions will be treated as appropriate for the mother during pregnancy.
A glucose challenge screening or glucose tolerance test will be performed to determine the mother’s risk of gestational diabetes. If abnormalities are found, dietary changes and potentially medication will be used to control blood glucose levels. Blood pressure screenings will be used to check for preeclampsia. Medication or lifestyle changes may be recommended if an abnormality is found (Preeclampsia Foundation, 2018). A nonstress test will be performed after 28 weeks to determine if the fetus is in any type of distress. If abnormalities are found, a biophysical profile may be performed to determine if it may be advantageous to deliver the baby early (Women’s Health, 2018).
Amniocentesis is performed at 14-20 weeks to screen for Down syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, and Spina bifida (Women’s Health, 2018). Chorionic villus is performed at 10-13 weeks to screen for chromosomal disorders and other genetic disorders (Women’s Health, 2018). Maternal Serum Screen is another test for chromosomal disorders that can be performed at 15-20 weeks. If abnormalities are found the various options will be discussed with the parent. The course of action will be determined by the prognosis and preferences of the parents.