Tests in the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Having regular checkups during pregnancy is a very wise decision. The first trimester of pregnancy includes the first three months of the development of the baby inside the mother’s womb. Various tests in the first trimester of pregnancy help in monitoring the well-being of both the mother and the unborn child.

Why are Tests Important During Pregnancy?

Tests during pregnancy help in understanding the complexities involved during and after child-birth. They help parents address health issues beforehand and can also assist in eliminating the pregnancy under extreme circumstances. Test results showing abnormalities can help pursue further testing. If the unborn child will be a ‘special needs’ case, these tests help in mentally preparing the parents for accepting and making arrangements for the upbringing of the child. Tests not only help predict the physiology of the child, but help in aiding the delivery of the baby as well. Common pregnancy tests include genetic testing, blood tests, ultrasounds etc.

What do these Tests Determine?

Tests in the first trimester of pregnancy help in determining a due date, any changing lifestyle issues, and for ruling out fetal abnormalities, baby positioning, heartbeat and heart rate. One should keep the same obstetrician for the entire pregnancy, since they are well aware of the entire situation for the mother and the unborn child.

In order to be sure of your pregnancy, a blood test or urine test is the appropriate choice. Finding and sticking with an experienced and professional obstetrician is essential.

Physical Exam

This includes an examination of the opening of the cervix (vagina), height, weight, blood pressure and dietary issues of the mother. It also includes general questioning about the family and any important medical history.

Screening out Abnormalities

Screening tests differ for different trimesters. The most accurate among these tests in the first trimester of pregnancy is known as First Trimester Screen, majorly performed to eliminate any chromosomal abnormalities, especially Down’s Syndrome. It is a non-invasive test performed during the 11th to 13th week of pregnancy. This screening helps in ruling out two basic hormones involved in chromosomal abnormalities, namely pregnancy-associated plasma protein (PAPP-A) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Both these hormones are produced by the placenta during early pregnancy.

Ultrasound for Fetal Nuchal Translucency (NT)

This kind of screening helps in detecting any kind of fluid production abnormalities at the back of the fetal neck.

Blood Tests

The following blood tests in the first trimester of pregnancy are commonly suggested :

Hemoglobin levels to check for anemia

Rh factor for eliminating any blood-type abnormalities

Immunity and exposure to any infections like rubella, hepatitis etc.