Pregnancy is a complicated time for expectant mothers. The stress that the body must endure coupled with the expectations of an addition to the family can take a tremendous toll on new and experienced mothers alike.
In the battle against uncertainty, knowledge is key. What tests and procedures can the expecting mom anticipate over the next few months from her medical professionals? Know what to look forward to and how to prepare by staying up to date on modern maternity protocols.
The ultrasound is probably the most familiar of prenatal tests, often depicted in movies, television and pop culture because it has become so common in recent years. This simple non-invasive test has the ability to monitor the basic conditions of the pregnancy and to detect many conditions that may threaten the fetus. It is part of most comprehensive first trimester testing routines and used to monitor the progress of the pregnancy.
Another non-intrusive test involves sampling the urine, which measures several variables from the mother’s body, providing information about protein levels and sugars in the body. If conditions such as gestational diabetes are present, this test provides early detection and ensures the best outcome for mother and baby. These tests will also detect many infections that can adversely affect the pregnancy.
Mothers can anticipate several blood tests during their pregnancy to give more specific information on the health of the fetus and the pregnancy. During the first trimester, these blood serum tests, such as the PAPP-A and the hCG tests, note abnormal chromosomal conditions and are vital for early detection and overall prenatal care.
Often called an ‘amnio,’ this test may also be familiar to many new moms. Amniocentesis can be somewhat more intense than simple blood and urine tests, involving the use of a long thin needle to retrieve a small amount of amniotic fluid. It is more commonly offered to women who have a higher risk of pregnancy complications due to previous testing and family history.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
CVS is another common test offered to expectant mothers who meet certain criteria. Since the procedure is not without risk, the decision to perform this test is made based on prior testing, family history and the needs of the mother. If CVS is deemed necessary, it can be performed in a similar manner as an amniocentesis, but may also be done in some circumstances via a catheter.
The weeks leading up to the birth of a child are full of emotion but uncertainty does not have to be a part of the picture. Caregivers are able to provide information that can protect mother and child. The flurry of attention may seem overwhelming, but the prepared parent is one who is armed with the most up-to-date information.