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Health Information For Parents
Prenatal tests are tests done during pregnancy to check a woman’s health and her baby’s. They can detect conditions that can put a baby at risk for problems like preterm birth if they’re not treated. Tests also can help health care providers find things like a birth defect or a chromosomal abnormality.
Some prenatal tests are screening tests that can only reveal the possibility of a problem. Other prenatal tests are diagnostic tests that can accurately find whether a fetus has a specific problem. A screening test sometimes is followed by a diagnostic test.
If your doctor recommends a test, ask about its risks and benefits. Most parents find that prenatal tests offer them peace of mind while helping to prepare them for their baby’s arrival. But it’s your choice to accept or decline a test.
One of the goals of your first visit to the obstetrician’s office is to confirm your pregnancy and see whether you or your baby could be at risk for any health problems.
The doctor will do a full physical exam, which may include a weight assessment, blood pressure check, and breast and pelvic examination. If you’re due for your routine cervical test (Pap smear), the doctor will do it during the pelvic exam. This test detects changes in cervical cells that could lead to cancer. During the pelvic exam, your doctor also will check for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
To confirm your pregnancy, you may have a urine pregnancy test, which checks for hCG, a hormone and pregnancy indicator. Your urine (pee) also is tested for protein, sugar, and signs of infection. When your pregnancy is confirmed, your due date is calculated based on the date of your last menstrual cycle (period). Sometimes an ultrasound exam will help to figure this out.
A blood test will check for things like:
After the first visit, you can expect to get your urine tested and your weight and blood pressure checked at every (or almost every) visit until you deliver. These tests can find problems such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure).
During your first trimester, you’ll be offered more tests depending on your age, health, family medical history, and other things. These can include:
Health care providers might order other tests during a woman’s pregnancy based on such things as her (and her partner’s) personal medical history and risk factors. It’s important to speak with a genetic counselor if your baby is at risk for hereditary conditions.
Screening or diagnostic tests offered include tests for:
Remember that tests are offered to you — it’s your choice whether to have them.
To decide which tests are right for you, talk with your health care provider about why a test is recommended, its risks and benefits, and what the results can — and can’t — tell you.
Genetic counselors work with people who are either planning to have a baby or are pregnant to determine whether they carry the genes for certain inherited disorders. Find out more.
The sooner in pregnancy good careÂ begins, the better for theÂ health of both moms and their babies. Here’s what to expect.
During your pregnancy, you’ll probably get advice from everyone. But staying healthy depends on you – read about the many ways to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.
Every parent-to-be hopes for a healthy baby, but it can be hard not to worry. Find out what tests can keep you informed of your health â and your baby’s â throughout pregnancy.
Find out what tests may be offered to you during weeks 13 through 26 of pregnancy.
Find out what tests may be offered to you during weeks 27 through 40 of pregnancy.
Advice and information for expectant and new parents.
Alpha thalassemia is a blood disorder in which the body has a problem producing alpha globin, a component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.
Beta thalassemia is a blood disorder in which the body has a problem producing beta globin, a component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.
If your child has a birth defect, you don’t have to go it alone – many people and resources are available to help you.
Anemia happens when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells in the body. It can be caused by many things, including dietary problems, medical treatments, and inherited conditions.
Advances in genetic testing help doctors diagnose and treat certain illnesses. The type of test done depends on which condition a doctor checks for.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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