In pregnancy, you will be offered many screening tests to know your baby's health. These tests can help determine if further tests are needed during the pregnancy or later after the baby is born.
A screening test in pregnancy's first trimester is done to find if there is a high risk of a health problem for the mother and the baby. The primary purpose of doing these tests is to give us a chance to give more effective treatment and to make the right decisions at the right time. The screening tests offered are a combination of blood tests and ultrasound scans. As the pregnancy progresses, one or both of these tests may be ordered depending on the health of the mother and the baby.
The 1st trimester scan is the Ultrasound performed to check for any defects in the baby. Blood tests are done to detect infections like syphilis, hepatitis B, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and more. Blood tests and ultrasounds together can help us determine if the baby is likely to have congenital conditions commonest being Down’s syndrome.
What are the Tests done during Pregnancy - Different screening tests are done at different times of pregnancy.
After the confirmation of pregnancy routine screening tests are done as early as 8-10 weeks, for congenitally acquired diseases like thalassemia and sickle cell. We also look for infectious diseases like hepatitis B and HIV. When detected early, you can start timely treatment for yourself and reduce the baby's risk of acquiring it.
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A combined screening test is done between 11 and 13 weeks. A nuchal translucency scan is done to assess for any chromosomal conditions. Coupled with the patient's age and history this guides us to decide on the blood test for better accuracy. NIPT is a non-invasive maternal blood test recommended to all females above 30 years of age.
It is a personal choice whether to have a screening test or not. You can discuss your choices with your doctor.. Screening tests are done to ensure that you and your baby are healthy and if at all any action needs to be taken to improve on it.
Screening tests cause no harm to you or your baby. Initial tests are non-invasive. It guides you to make adequate changes and start treatment when required. It helps you make informed decision
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