Medical tests during pregnancy | Medical tests


Diseases and conditions

Tests during pregnancy


  • Amnioscopy
  • Blood analysis in pregnancy
  • Analysis of urine in pregnancy
  • Indirect Coombs
  • Screening for malformations
  • Screening for malformations
  • Ultrasound
  • Sugar levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Tocografia

During pregnancy, there are a series of medical tests of routine, in order to verify that the mother-to-be and fetus are in perfect condition. Thanks to these tests can prevent or correct any problem that arises in the baby and that could compromise the viability of childbirth in time.
Certain tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic biopsy are only made in certain cases, when the doctor deems it necessary.
Then you will learn what are the tests that you will make during your pregnancy, what, and at what time of gestation will perform.

AMNIOSCOPY

What is the amnioscopy?

The amnioscopy consists of introducing a hollow tube through the vagina and cervix of the mother, in such a way that the amniotic fluid through the membrane can be products of conception.

When is it done?

In the last weeks of pregnancy the fetus reaches its largest size and has his head placed in the maternal pelvis. It is then when can be performed the amnioscopy, the cervix will be softened enough to allow the passage of the amnioscopio. The presence of a non-transparent amniotic fluid (yellow, Brown or green) warning of a possible risk to the fetus if the pregnancy continues, and must in this case study the possibility to interrupt it as soon as possible.

BLOOD IN PREGNANCY

What is a blood analysis?

Blood provides very useful information on what happens within the body and, in the case of a pregnancy, also reports on the status of the fetus, which is connected to the mother through the umbilical cord, and shares with it the metabolism of nutrients and waste.
To perform a blood test is carried out an extraction puncionando a vein, usually in the forearm, with a needle and syringe. The extracted blood is analysed immediately, or is kept at a suitable temperature until the analysis is carried out in the laboratory. Analyses are usually performed in the morning, shortly after waking up and on fasting, to avoid alterations metabolic sugar, fat and others.
During pregnancy several elements are of great importance to check the condition of the baby and its proper growth. One of the most important substances is human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG): when the fertilized egg is implanted in the wall of the uterus the organism begins to synthesize this molecule, which indicates to the mother that she is pregnant and preparing your body for pregnancy. This substance increases more and more during the first three months of pregnancy, and is particularly important in screening for fetal malformations which is described later.
In addition, blood provides information on the general State of health of the mother, and thanks to its analysis, it is possible to detect anemia, diabetes, excess cholesterol, levels of hormones, immune status, etc.

When is a blood analysis done in pregnancy?

They are at least two blood tests during pregnancy: one in the first consultation with the gynaecologist (in the first quarter), and the other during the last months of pregnancy, in the third quarter. To assess some elements separately (glucose, hemoglobin) is not necessary to make a complete analysis, since there are devices for determining these values with a small puncture in the ball of your finger.
In the first trimester blood test is also used to perform a "screening of infectious diseases", that is, to detect infectious diseases suffered by or suffered by the mother. The most important are the viral hepatitis, AIDS and STDs such as syphilis diseases; the screening is not repeated unless the mother has lived at risk during pregnancy (cuts with contaminated material, unprotected sex, etc). It also explores if the mother has already passed or not toxoplasmosis, since if it has happened it there is a risk of becoming infected during pregnancy and precautionary measures should be taken.
Increasingly more highlights the importance of conducting a preconception consultation, i.e. an inquiry until there is pregnancy, to properly plan and carry out a blood analysis the mother to detect possible disturbances that can be corrected prior to conception, the pregnancy will develop normally.

ANALYSIS OF URINE IN PREGNANCY

What is a urine test?

The urine provides information about the State of the kidneys and also substances metabolized in the body, therefore, any alteration in the levels or the appearance of harmful substances will be detected in a urine test. The urine of mother is usually obtained at the same time that an extraction of blood, takes place early in the morning fasting, so avoided food alteration on the metabolism.

When is it done in pregnancy?

It is usually done a urine test each quarter. It is particularly important the analysis of protein in the urine in the second quarter, because a high amount of protein in the urine (proteinuria), may be due to an increase in blood pressure that produces damage in the kidney filter. The appearance of proteinuria and hypertension at the same time is what is called pre-eclampsia, which must be treated and monitored to avoid complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
In the first quarter not only is the analysis of substances in the urine, also take samples which are cultivated to detect germ. If germs infecting the urinary tract these could pass easily into the uterus through the vagina, so it is due to value remove them with antibiotics.

INDIRECT COOMBS

What is an indirect coombs test?

There are up to eight blood groups: A, B, 0 and AB, each of which can be Rh positive or negative. Each person has a specific blood group and will not tolerate blood transfusions from another group, since this would trigger an immune reaction of rejection. During pregnancy, the mother and the baby may have different blood groups and coexist without problem; This is because that the blood of both is not actually mixed, but they only Exchange nutrients and waste products in the placenta through a membrane. However, during the delivery the placenta breaks, and the blood of the baby and the mother are mixed through the birth canal; It has no greater importance at that time, but, if the mother is Rh negative and the baby Rh positive, the mother will form defensive antibodies against blood Rh positive, which can cross the placenta in a next pregnancy and harm the fetus if you are Rh positive.
The Coombs test is intended to detect whether the mothers who are Rh negative they have antibodies against the Rh positive blood. Realized easily extracting blood from the mother and adding synthetic substances that simulate the factor Rh positive. There are two types of Coombs test:
• Direct: it detects antibodies that are already stuck on the surface of red blood cells from the mother. These antibodies are formed by different (many autoimmune) diseases or drugs. They can cause destruction of red blood cells and, therefore, anaemia or jaundice.
• Indirect: it detects antibodies against Rh positive that are circulating in the blood plasma of the mother Rh negative. There may be a previous with an RH-positive baby pregnancy, or by contact with blood Rh positive for other reasons (wounds, blood transfusions, etc.).

When is an indirect coombs test performed?

Coombs test is performed first in the first query of pregnancy with the gynecologist, both to the positive as to the Rh negative mothers Rh. If the indirect Coombs test is negative should be repeated between weeks 24 and 34 of pregnancy, at least twice, to make sure that you have not formed antibodies anti-Rh positive at that time. If the indirect Coombs test is positive we will assess the risk that the pregnancy and determine whether it is necessary to perform blood transfusions the fetus puncionando umbilical cord. Pregnancy control will be tighter, with consultations and frequent ultrasounds.
If the mother is Rh negative and gives birth to a son Rh positive, should vaccinate the mother with human gamma globulin within 72 hours. This gamma globulin does that mother does not form antibodies anti-Rh positive and that a next pregnancy of an RH-positive baby lacks risk.

SCREENING FOR MALFORMATIONS

What is a screening of malformations?

Malformations are all possible alterations of the form and function of the organs of the baby. There are malformations of little importance, which usually occur in the late stage of pregnancy, and other more serious, which often come determined by genetics. However, they tend to be very infrequent and nowadays it is relatively simple to detect them through the screening that they carry out various testing. The alteration of the values of one of the tests separately may not have importance, but if several tests provide suspect results should think of a malformation.
• Biochemical screening: performed during weeks 15 and 16 of pregnancy through a blood test that detects the presence of certain substances of which referred to his relationship with the good development of the baby. The most important substances are human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG (low levels of it do suspect something is not it going well) and alpha-fetoprotein.
• Ultrasound: is can directly detect anatomical malformations with this test, as well as see if there are signs that are related to some genetic disorders (increased from the neck of the baby, feet bent, etc).
• Invasive tests: the surest way of knowing if the genetics of the future baby is altered is pull some of its cells and study it, as biopsies that are made for adults. According to the time of pregnancy is a separate race. The first possibility is to perform chorionic biopsy, which involves taking a sample of the primitive placenta and analyze it. The second option is amniocentesis, in which the membranes surrounding the embryo to extract a sample of amniotic fluid is puncionan. Finally, a funiculocentesis can be done when the fetus is more developed; in this test are punctures made points the umbilical cord getting a sample of fetal blood.

When is a screening of malformations?

Biochemical screening and ultrasound is performed during the first trimester of pregnancy; After ultrasound rule out other anatomical alterations in the different consultations with the gynecologist. Only invasive tests will be carried out when any of the previous tests present alterations, in order to confirm or deny a malformation.
In addition, there are some situations which of itself increase the risk of malformations and should be carefully monitored. It is the case of mothers over the age of 35 at the time of the birth, history of pregnancies with malformations, or parents with genetic abnormalities, several abortions throughout the life of the mother, etc.

SCREENING FOR MALFORMATIONS

What is a screening of malformations?

Malformations are all possible alterations of the form and function of the organs of the baby. There are malformations of little importance, which usually occur in the late stage of pregnancy, and other more serious, which often come determined by genetics. However, they tend to be very infrequent and nowadays it is relatively simple to detect them through the screening that they carry out various testing. The alteration of the values of one of the tests separately may not have importance, but if several tests provide suspect results should think of a malformation.
• Biochemical screening: performed during weeks 15 and 16 of pregnancy through a blood test that detects the presence of certain substances of which referred to his relationship with the good development of the baby. The most important substances are human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG (low levels of it do suspect something is not it going well) and alpha-fetoprotein.
• Ultrasound: is can directly detect anatomical malformations with this test, as well as see if there are signs that are related to some genetic disorders (increased from the neck of the baby, feet bent, etc).
• Invasive tests: the surest way of knowing if the genetics of the future baby is altered is pull some of its cells and study it, as biopsies that are made for adults. According to the time of pregnancy is a separate race. The first possibility is to perform chorionic biopsy, which involves taking a sample of the primitive placenta and analyze it. The second option is amniocentesis, in which the membranes surrounding the embryo to extract a sample of amniotic fluid is puncionan. Finally, a funiculocentesis can be done when the fetus is more developed; in this test are punctures made points the umbilical cord getting a sample of fetal blood.

When is a screening of malformations?

Biochemical screening and ultrasound is performed during the first trimester of pregnancy; After ultrasound rule out other anatomical alterations in the different consultations with the gynecologist. Only invasive tests will be carried out when any of the previous tests present alterations, in order to confirm or deny a malformation.
In addition, there are some situations which of itself increase the risk of malformations and should be carefully monitored. It is the case of mothers over the age of 35 at the time of the birth, history of pregnancies with malformations, or parents with genetic abnormalities, several abortions throughout the life of the mother, etc.

ULTRASOUND

What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a technology that allows you to look inside the human body. Its operation is based on Ultrasound: send sounds to low-frequency bounce off different structures inside the body and back to the original source. According to them bounce at greater or lesser speed and for more or less time, so shall the "drawing" of our interior. The best of the ultrasound is ultrasounds are not harmful in any way to the mother or baby, unlike the TAC or other x-rays, so this technique can be used without problems the times the doctor deems necessary. This makes that the ultrasound has become the essential exploration to control the development of a pregnancy.
A special type of ultrasound is the "uterine-placental and fetal doppler Velocimetry" known as doppler ultrasound. This technology allows to observe the flow of blood through the heart and the blood vessels of the fetus, umbilical cord and the placenta. It is very important to check blood flow runs normally, since small alterations thereof may not have impact on the fetus and the mother, but warn about possible future problems that you have to watch.

When are they made during pregnancy?

An ultrasound is performed by trimester of pregnancy to control the number of fetuses in utero, the good formation of the organs of the baby, its growth and development and implantation of the placenta, etc. In addition, ultrasound is used routine prior to delivery to check that everything is fine, and also in emergency situations. For the test no no special preparation is necessary, simply apply a gel on the skin that allows to give a continuity between the ultrasound and the body of the pregnant woman.

SUGAR LEVELS

What is a test of sugar?

Blood glucose is the level of glucose (sugar) that is in the blood. Detected easily by analyzing the blood of the mother, which is obtained by extraction with needle and syringe, or simply by slightly clicking on the fingertip. Daytime glucose levels increase and decrease, depending on the amount of food eaten or when performing exercise. A gestational diabetes if detected levels above 125 mg/dL on two occasions, or only once a value greater than 200 mg/dL can be determined in pregnant women.

When is it done during pregnancy?

Blood glucose is detected everytime is performed a blood test, but besides that pregnancy requires to perform a screening for gestational diabetes, i.e., a test that causes an increase in rapid and excessive glucose in the body of pregnant women that allows to observe if it reacts well and is able to reduce the levels of glucose in adequate time or on the other hand, the pregnancy has altered the regulation of sugar and a gestational diabetes may develop soon.
Gestational diabetes screening test is the so-called test of O'Sullivan, who is to take 50 grams of glucose and detect blood glucose. He is performed between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy, exist or not risk factors. If the test is positive (equal to or greater than 140 mg/dL glucose) must be another similar test called oral 100 mg glucose overload, and determine blood glucose in various periods of time.
If for any reason the O'Sullivan test is performed between 24 and 28 weeks, it must be during the third trimester of pregnancy, especially if the baby is larger than expected (fetal macrosomia), or there is too much amniotic fluid in the uterus (polyhydramnios) inside.
If the mother has some risk factor to develop gestational diabetes should be test O'Sullivan within the first trimester of pregnancy. Risk factors are:
• Age equal to or greater than 35 years.
• Obesity (BMI ≥ 30).
• Previous gestational diabetes to carbohydrate intolerance.
• History of diabetes in first-degree relatives.
• History of child born with macrosomia.
• Basal glucose between 100 and 125 mg/dl.

BLOOD PRESSURE

What is a blood pressure test?

Blood pressure or blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries of the body. It has two values: the systolic pressure, which coincides with the beating of the heart and is higher, and diastolic pressure, which is less.
Normal values for a pregnant woman are always below 140/90 mmHg. Typically, that during pregnancy decreases a little, and in the last quarter increase to normal values.
To check blood pressure in a pregnant woman are used usual pressure cuffs; minutes before making the assessment, the mother must be quiet and is better that has not eaten or drunk.

When is made the test of blood pressure in pregnancy?

This is done in all gynecological consultations that are held during the pregnancy, i.e. in the first, second and third quarter. Is of special importance in the second trimester of pregnancy, since in that period may appear a high blood pressure that is necessary to know and control so that the pregnancy develops normally; a pre-eclampsia, which is an arterial hypertension associated with protein in the urine (proteinuria), which can lead to many complications can even discover.

TOCOGRAFIA

What is a tocografia?

The tocografo is a device that allows you to record the number and intensity of spontaneous uterine contractions that exist prior to delivery. The heart rate of the baby and the response of the fetal heartbeat to contractions are detected at the same time. It is normal that after a uterine contraction the baby responds to accelerating your heart rate.
To determine all these factors it is necessary to keep the mother lying down, without any prior preparation, and are placed several electrodes on the surface of the abdomen that pick up electrical signals from the muscles of the uterus of the mother and of the heart of the fetus; This would be the non-stress test.
The stress test is performed when suspected of any alteration of the well-being of the baby; so are supplied to the mother drugs that cause uterine contractions, and the response of the fetal heartbeat is recorded as explained before.

When is it done during pregnancy?

Such tests are performed not before the last trimester of pregnancy, when the fetus is fully developed and is in the stage of growth and weight gain.
In known risk pregnancies, childbirths controls must begin after the 32nd week of pregnancy, but the pregnancy with a normal course controls begin to perform from week 40, if there has been no childbirth prior to that date.
Translated for educational purposes
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