Scans and Tests during pregnancy

Scans and tests are an integral part of pregnancy. They help to screen and find out if there are any complications in the pregnancy. Forewarned is forearmed. The advancement in medical science can help in curing most health problems like heart murmur, blocks in urinary blocks, etc. in the womb itself. Also, testing will help you avoid passing on any infections and diseases to your young one.

First Trimester

In the first trimester, the following combined screening test is compulsorily performed:

  1. A blood test between 9 and 13 weeks of pregnancy (to ascertain your blood group, Rh factor, haemoglobin levels, etc.)
  2. A nuchal translucency screening (which is a kind of ultrasound that measures the clear space in the tissue at the back of a baby’s neck) done between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy.

The above two tests also let you know if the baby is at risk of Down’s Syndrome and some other disorders. If so, you might need to undergo certain invasive tests like chorionic villus sampling (CVS), usually performed at 10 to 12 weeks, and amniocentesis, usually done at 16 to 20 weeks. Since these tests are invasive, there is a small risk of miscarriage and they must be carried out only if absolutely necessary. These tests can confirmedly inform you whether the baby has Down’s Syndrome.


Also, depending on your previous medical history and background, you might require some more tests and screening for diseases like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and Tay-Sachs disease. A test for HIV virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is also a compulsory part of prenatal testing now days.

Apart from this, you will also have to undergo the usual physical examination, including a pap smear to rule out cervical cancer. You will also need to undergo a urine test to check for urinary infections and other conditions. If you are at a risk for gestational diabetes considering previous pregnancies, family history, etc. let your doctor know in the first visit itself. You might need to undergo a glucose test too, in that situation.

Second Trimester

The three biggest fears during the second trimester are preeclampsia, gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes. Testing the protein content in the urine can help detect preeclampsia. Glucose screening is a usually done towards the end of second trimester to rule out diabetes. In the second trimester another blood test is done between 15 and 20 weeks. An ultrasound may also be recommended at that time to find out the baby’s due date.


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Third Trimester

These are some tests and care you may get in the third trimester:

  1. A blood test for anaemia
  2. Tests for syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, etc. if you are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
  3. Glucose test, if required.
  4. An ultrasound to check the location of the placenta, baby’s growth and the level of amniotic fluid.
  5. A non-stress test if it is a high-risk pregnancy
  6. A flu vaccine if it is the flu season.
  7. Vaccine for whooping cough for mother and baby.
  8. A vaginal and rectum swab to check for infections so that you can be given antibiotics and the infection does not pass on to the baby.

Ultrasounds in 3D and 4D have become quite a fad now days. Though they are lots of fun, do not do them for entertainment sake at unreputed centers as they add no value and cannot be relied upon. Undergoing an inaccurate and unreliable scan is not a good idea as though it has not been proved that scans affect babies, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Disclaimer : The information provided above is based on the writer’s Knowledge , experience and understanding. Professional advice from a qualified DOCTOR is recommended.

The author of the article, as well as do not take any responsibility for the Health advice given above. Don’t forget to take suggestions from your Obstetrician and gynecologist.

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