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Pre-natal Testing
Routine Testing
All pregnant women undergo a battery of tests early in pregnancy. These tests include blood tests (blood count, blood type, rubella immunity, hepatitis, and a state-required test for syphilis), a urine culture, a Pap test, a state-required cervical culture for gonorrhea and a chlamydia culture.

Rh-negative women are tested for RH antibodies around 28 weeks of pregnancy and receive a RhoGam injection. We routinely test for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks. We offer an enhanced serum alpha-fetal protein test (AFP) at 16-18 weeks, which screens for head and spinal defects and Down’s syndrome.

Ultrasound
You may be asked to have an ultrasound, also known as an echogram or a sonogram. The most common reason for an ultrasound scan is to date a pregnancy, since menstrual dates may be unreliable in up to 40 percent of all pregnant women.

It is extremely important to have an accurate estimation of your due date for several reasons. If you should develop complications, the management of your problem is highly dependent on your gestational age. The earlier in pregnancy an ultrasound scan is performed, the more accurate it is for dating.

Ultrasound scans may also be used to detect multiple fetuses, to find many (but not all) types of congenital malformations, to determine the cause of vaginal bleeding, and to detect fetal growth retardation. All high-risk patients should be scanned at least once, and sometimes serially, during their pregnancy. Most patients are reassured by seeing their unborn baby move on the ultrasound screen, and some preliminary studies indicate the ultrasound scans may help start the bonding process even before birth.

Amniocentesis and CVS
You should inquire about genetic counseling and amniocentesis if you:
  • Are in your mid-thirties or older.
  • Have a personal or family history of a spinal, head or chromosomal defect.
  • Have a low maternal serum AFP.
This test involves carefully inserting a needle into the amniotic sac to withdraw a sample of amniotic fluid. A number of malformations can be diagnosed using amniocentesis, including Down’s syndrome, other chromosomal defects, and some spinal and brain malformations. Amniocentesis carries with it a small risk of miscarriage or fetal damage (1-in-200 to 1-in-300).

CVS is helpful in the early detection of chromosomal problems. CVS carries with it a 1-in-100 risk of miscarriage or fetal damage. Information about amniocentesis and CVS is available through the office.

All of these tests are optional.

Biophysical Profile and/or Fetal Monitor Tests
If you have certain complications of pregnancy, or if you are at least one week overdue, you undergo these simple and non-invasive tests once or twice each week during the latter part of your pregnancy. These tests are not used in normal, uncomplicated pregnancies.

 
For general information or questions, please email us. Please note: Clinical questions cannot be answered via email due to the current HIPAA Regulations. Notice: All pages and their content are provided as information only. This is not a substitute for medical care or your doctor's attention. Please seek the advice of your doctor.
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