Nervous moms-to-be worry about everything that can possibly go wrong. There are, however, many non-invasive prenatal tests that can be used to evaluate the health of the developing baby without creating any known risks or side effects for the mother or child. Other tests combine non-invasive testing of the fetus with tests of the mother’s blood.
At SouthLake OB/GYN and Advanced Surgery we offer care and treatment for women throughout all stages of pregnancy. We understand the importance of proper care for both mom-to-be and baby. We offer a variety of tests, check-ups and educational tools to help give you the smoothest pregnancy possible. To schedule your appointment contact SouthLake OB/GYN today.
A non-stress test is a simple test used to check up on the fetus. It can be performed at any time after 28 days gestation. A sensor belt is placed around the mother-to-be’s abdomen and she relaxes for 30 minutes while information is collected about the fetus’s heart rate and movements. The primary goal of the test is to determine if the fetus’s heart rate increases as movement increases. If this does not happen, there may be something wrong with the oxygen supply to the fetus; for example, a problem with the placenta or umbilical cord.
A biophysical profile is usually only performed in the third trimester. This test consists of a non-stress test (see above) plus an ultrasound evaluation of the fetus. Both evaluations can be done simultaneously – the sensor belt can be attached and then the technician can use the ultrasound to view the fetus. The information derived from the sensor belt and the ultrasound examination will allow the technician to determine the health and well-being of the fetus. A normal biophysical profile is taken over 30 minutes and identifies:
- At least one breathing episode
- At least two movements
- Active extension/flexion of the limbs during movements
- Heartbeat acceleration during movements
- Adequate pockets of amniotic fluid
A regular ultrasound is a well-known test performed at any time during pregnancy. The technician uses a probe to generate an image of the fetus, placenta and uterus. Ultrasound can be used to confirm the fetus is growing at the expected rate, to evaluate fetal well-being, and to confirm that the placenta and uterus are operating normally.
First Trimester Test
This test combines an ultrasound exam with a maternal blood test. The first trimester test is only performed during the first trimester. This test can detect chromosomal abnormalities such as Trisomy 21 and 18 very early in the pregnancy. It can also detect certain cardiac abnormalities; however, it cannot detect neural tube abnormalities. In most cases, the results of this test are negative, and its role is to reassure the parents that all is well.
Non-invasive intrauterine tests of the fetus throughout pregnancy can determine if the fetus is growing normally, developing normally, and is healthy and doing well. Moms-to-be don’t have to worry – get checked out and make sure.