Tests & Scans Before & During Pregnancy

Tests & Scans Before & During Pregnancy

This information is brought to you by Max Hospital. To make your pregnancy an easier experience and give your baby the best care possible, it is always a wise move to plan everything beforehand. This will not only give you peace of mind but also give you an idea as to how your pregnancy would be. If there are some complications are that avoidable with the help of some tests and scans, one should most definitely consider it. There are two main objectives of doing any tests or scans. The first is to find out if there is anything that requires extra attention before the start of pregnancy which may be harmful for the mother and the baby. The second is to find out if there is anything that will affect the outcome of the pregnancy in ways that the baby maybe born deformed or with complications. However, all young couples must keep in mind that even after conducting the required tests, there is no guarantee that everything will go as planned. Couples must learn to accept that things may go wrong at any given point of time but that shouldn’t be a reason for not planning a pregnancy. Here is a list of tests and scans you should take during pregnancy.

Tests To Take While Planning Pregnancy

#1. Blood Group Tests

If both the woman and the man both have negative blood groups, it does not harm the pregnancy. However, there might be complications if the woman has a negative blood group & the husband is Rh+. It is also important to note here that not all couples who have this type of blood group will necessarily face issues or complications during pregnancy.

#2. Test for any diseases

Get yourself checked to rest assured that you are not harbouring any diseases that may be transmitted to the baby. The doctor will test you for some viral markers and see if you are carrying any diseases like HIV, Hepatitis C, HBsAg. These tests will also clarify whether or not you are active in any TORCH group of infections.

#3. Thalassemia Test

Thalassemia is a blood disorder that is passed down through families and is common in Asians. The disorder destroys a significant number of red blood cells which eventually leads to anemia.

#4.  General Tests

If a mother lacks hemoglobin in her blood and is anemic, it could create some problems for both the mother and the baby. Getting tested for high blood sugar, for hypertension & thyroid disorders can also be helpful as these are factors that could affect pregnancy negatively.

The First Trimester

#1. Urine routine examination

To screen if the mother is diabetic as this could affect the general health of the baby.

#2. Tests For Torch Group Of Infections

TORCH stands for toxoplasmosis, rubella cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, and HIV. If the mother is habouring these infections in the active form, it may be transmitted to the baby.

#3. Dating Scan

The first ultrasound is conducted at 7 weeks which reveals if the pregnancy is at the correct place and the baby is in the uterus and not in the tubes. It gives a peek into what would or wouldn’t be a normal pregnancy. It is also the most accurate scan to judge the gestation of the baby - how many weeks has the baby come along.

#4. Level 1 Ultrasound

This scan is done between 11 & 13 weeks of pregnancy. This is a very important scan as it is used in picking up any ‘Gross’ (physical structural) abnormalities in the baby. In medicine, the study of human structures that can be seen with the naked eye is called ‘gross’. It is also a growth scan as you can compare the growth of your baby with the use of the previous scan.

#5. Double Marker Or Dual Marker

Detects any gross abnormalities or deformities in the baby. If missed, one can take the triple or quadruple marker test.

The Second Trimester

#1. Level 2 Scan

  • This scan is conducted between 18 - 20 weeks
  • It is considered to be an extremely important scan as the baby’s organ formation would have significantly increased by this time.
  • This test helps in identifying if the four chambers in the baby’s heart are properly formed, if his brain, kidneys and other vital organs are developing properly.
  • It also checks if the placenta is properly placed or if it is invading into the uterus and detects other such complications, if there are any.
  • The main objective of this test is to find out if the baby is facing any developmental problems.

The Third Trimester

#1. Routine Scan

This scan is required between 23-30 weeks. It generally checks the health and overall growth of the baby.

#1. A scan after 36 weeks

This scan gives an idea of how much the baby will weigh, if he is getting enough blood supply, how mature the placenta is etc.

In case of abnormalities/complications

  • Amniocentesis: In this process, a needle is inserted into the uterus to sample the amniotic fluid. It is termed as an invasive procedure.
  • NIPT: NIPT stands for Non Invasive Prenatal Test. It tests the fetus’ DNA from the mother’s blood sample and is a non-invasive test.
This article is by Dr. Bela Makhija, Senior Director & Head of Unit (Obs. & Gynec, Max Smart Saket)