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Moms-to-be often cherish the connections they make with their baby throughout pregnancy, like getting their first ultrasound photo or feeling little kicks. They show your baby is healthy and growing.
Your doctor also uses a series of lab and blood tests to keep watch over your baby’s health to help ensure your pregnancy and birth proceed smoothly. It’s important for mothers to stay current on these tests, says AdventHealth obstetrician and gynecologist Jessica Auffant, MD.
Dr. Auffant explains which tests are important to get when — and what they’ll tell you about your health and your baby’s health. Some women, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, may receive more tests, but this is a general guide for most women.
(If you’re looking for more ways to maximize the health of you and your baby, check out the 8 Things to Do When You Find Out You're Pregnant.)
Conditions Lab Tests Can Reveal During Your First Trimester
Dr. Auffant says these first tests are about assessing your health. Your doctor is trying to be prepared for any issues that could affect your pregnancy, and these tests are fairly quick and painless. Some of your first tests may include:
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): These tests ensure you're not carrying any diseases that you could pass on to your baby.
- Gestational Diabetes: Through a blood sugar test, your doctor can determine if you may be at risk for gestational diabetes, which can complicate a pregnancy.
- Urinary Track Infection (UTI): A urine culture ensures you don't currently have a urinary tract infection or UTI, which could lead to premature birth if untreated.
- Blood Type: A blood test is run to determine your blood type. Those with a specific blood type, called Rh negative, can be at risk for bleeding later in their pregnancy and may require medication.
- Antibodies Screening: This check is to ensure that your body isn't responding to the pregnancy as a foreign invader, like an infection.
- Genetic Screening: This test is performed to determine if you have any genes that could cause disorders like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia or muscular dystrophy. These diseases are rare but serious, so it’s important to know if they could pass to your children.
Other Potential Tests
Not every pregnant mom will want or need every test. Here are some other options to talk about with your doctor:
- Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT): A blood test for potential genetic disorders that can be given as early as 10 weeks. It will also reveal whether your baby is a girl or a boy.
- Integrated Screening, Quad Screen, Sequential Screen and Alpha-Fetoprotein Blood Tests: These additional blood tests look for chemicals in your blood that may raise your child’s risk for birth defects such as spina bifida.
Seeing all these tests in one place could feel a little intimidating, but we’re making it easy for you. We’ve streamlined our labs so that you can expect to be in and out in 15 minutes or less.
A blood test can give you valuable information about your baby along with peace of mind. That’s why we want to make getting a blood test as quick and easy as possible.
We’re excited to be there for you as a partner in your pregnancy journey, supporting the whole health of both you and your family. For more information about lab tests while you’re pregnant, call our Birth Experience Team at Call 407-303-7341 or visit our website.