Waiting for your pregnancy test results to find out whether or not you have a bun in the oven is already a nerve-wracking experience, but hold on to your wits -- there are more medical tests you will need to undergo as your pregnancy progresses. Leave your worries behind though -- these tests and procedures may be routine (read: normal), but they could save yours and your baby's lives.
Remember that prevention and early detection and treatment is important. Besides, you've probably done some of these already, so don't sweat.
1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) test This blood test measures your hematocrit and hemoglobin that could tell a doctor if you're at risk for developing anemia and excessive bleeding. On average, a woman loses about half a liter of blood when she gives birth.
2. Blood typing and Rh status and antibody screening The Rh factor in your blood and your partner's can tell your doctor if your blood is compatible with your child's Rh type. Simply put, an incompatibility between your Rh type and your child's might complicate your subsequent pregnancies (not the current one). It's also crucial to know your blood type in case transfusion is required.
3. Syphilis screening Early detection of syphilis in a pregnant woman's system can lead to proper intervention. Syphilis can lead to pre-term labor and could be fatal. It could also affect your baby's growth and development inside the womb.
4. Hepatitis B screening Pregnant women with hepatitis B can transfer the disease to their baby. If you tested positive for hepatitis B, you and your doctor can discuss how best to deliver your baby to minimize the risk of your baby getting the disease.
5. Urinalysis Testing your urine is crucial to check for urinary tract infections, renal problems, and high sugar or protein -- all of which could potentially cause pregnancy complications, including sepsis and life-threatening blood infection. High levels of protein in the urine could signal your risk for preeclampsia. How often you do this test depends on your doctor.
6. Pap smear A pap smear during pregnancy helps detect any cervical cell anomalies, and is a way to check for sexually-transmitted diseases such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, which could cause health problems for your baby if left untreated. It's usually done during the first trimester and when follow-up is needed.
7. Ultrasound Having an ultrasound, whether it’s 2D, 3D or 4D every trimester helps your doctor check for your baby's health inside the womb. The first one, which could be a regular or transvaginal sonogram depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy, confirms how many babies you are having and your estimated due date. The second and third one checks for development, placenta size, and your baby's gender.
8. Glucose Tolerance Test This test involves drinking oral glucose, after which a blood test will determine the amount of sugar in your blood. Even women who are not a candidate for gestational diabetes should have this test done, usually between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.
Your doctor can also tell you if you need other tests done. These could include HIV screening and other genetic screening tests which check for congenital and chromosomal anomalies (e.g. maternal serum screen or AFP, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling) which are done only for high-risk pregnancies and/or highly-suspected cases. There is also the rubella screen to see if you're protected from getting the disease, which gravely endangers your unborn baby.
Remember that your health and that of your unborn child are intertwined, so make time to discuss with your doctor any health concerns at this stage so you could make an informed decision.