The path to pregnancy is unique to each woman. Prenatal tests are also tailored to each of our patients. Health, age, ethnicity, medical conditions and family history are all factors that we take into account when considering prenatal tests. There are a variety of prenatal tests that we use to monitor the health of mom and baby.

A variety of genetic screening tests can be used to detect increased risk of genetic problems, such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis or spina bifida. Since only two to three percent of all babies are born with a genetic defect, these screening tests are optional. Your physician can help you decide whether or not to proceed with genetic screening.

Urine samples will be collected at each prenatal visit and tested for glucose (sugar) and protein. Glucose in the urine can be a sign of diabetes, while protein can indicate pre-eclampsia. Dr. Fitzgerald recently wrote about preeclampsia and its primary symptom, high blood pressure.

An ultrasound exam is typically performed between 18 and 20 weeks, to check for any problems with the developing fetus. Gel is applied to a woman’s belly, and a special tool is moved over it to create a “picture” of the fetus on a monitor. The major organs are visualized to check for any abnormalities.

Glucose challenge screening assesses the risk for gestational diabetes and is usually given between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If there is a family history of diabetes, obesity, a previous pregnancy with a large baby or you are having twins, your doctor may test blood glucose levels earlier in the pregnancy.

Testing for Group B Streptococcus, a bacteria that can be passed to newborns during labor, is typically performed by obtaining a vaginal culture during the last trimester of pregnancy, between 35 and 37 weeks. Learn more about the symptoms, prevention and treatment of Group B Strep in this blog post by Dr. Roberts.

The physicians at Mt. Auburn OBGYN are here to answer your questions about prenatal and genetic tests throughout your pregnancy. Please call us to make an appointment.