What Routine Tests Can I Expect During Pregnancy?
Posted May 01, 2023 by Ashley Ballester, M.D.
Regular visits and routine testing are a large part of the pregnancy journey to monitor the growth and development of your baby while helping to ensure you and your baby remain healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Summa Health breaks down various tests by trimester you can expect to undergo for routine prenatal care. The timings may vary, depending on your risk factors and individual situation, and for high-risk pregnancies, additional tests may be recommended, such as genetic screening. These routine tests provide your healthcare team good insight into how mom and baby are doing. And if a problem is found by one of these routine tests, many of them can be treated during pregnancy.
First trimester prenatal screening tests
- First-trimester ultrasound: At your initial visit, you will have your first-trimester ultrasound to establish your baby’s due date, determine the number of fetuses you’re carrying, examine the uterus and pelvic anatomy and detect fetal abnormalities.
- Non-invasive prenatal testing: You may elect to pursue a genetic screening test. This blood test screens for genetic conditions that could affect your baby's health and development. Your healthcare provider also will discuss blood testing for you to see if you are a carrier for certain genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis.
- Complete Blood Count: This blood test counts the number of red and white blood cells as well as platelets to ensure you’re healthy.
- Blood Type and Rh factor: This blood test determines if you have type A, B, AB or O blood type. Your blood also is tested for Rh factor. If you’re Rh negative, you may develop antibodies that can be dangerous for your baby and you will be given medicine to help prevent complications.
- Urinalysis: Your urine sample is tested for blood in the urine, which can indicate a urinary tract disease or infection, as well as for glucose, which can be a sign of diabetes. Urine also is tested for the amount of protein in your blood. High protein levels could indicate preeclampsia.
- Urine culture: This urine test looks for bacteria in your urine, which can be a sign of a bladder or kidney infection. Those who are pregnant can sometimes have a UTI without symptoms, and an untreated infection can lead to pregnancy complications.
In many cases, you will be tested for specific diseases and infections, such as rubella, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re positive for disease, you and your baby will require special care.
Second trimester prenatal screening tests
- Mid-trimester ultrasound: Between weeks 18 and 20, your provider will perform an ultrasound to monitor fetal growth, behavior and activity, examine blood-flow patterns, and check for fetal abnormalities, among other factors. At this time, you also can confirm the baby’s sex, based on anatomy.
- Glucose screening: This test measures the level of glucose, or sugar, in your blood. A high blood sugar level could indicate gestational diabetes, which can cause complications during pregnancy. For this test, you drink a special sugar mixture and an hour later, a blood sample is taken.
Third trimester prenatal screening tests
- Third-trimester ultrasound: If necessary, you may receive an ultrasound to monitor fetal growth and position, assess the placenta and amount of amniotic fluid.
- Group B streptococcus (GBS) screening: At 36 weeks, a swab is used to take a sample from your vagina and rectum. GBS is a common bacteria found in the body and usually does not cause harm. However, if a mother is positive, it can be passed to the fetus during labor and can be dangerous for a newborn. If you test positive, you will be given antibiotics through an IV during labor to reduce the chance of your baby being infected.
For more information about routine pregnancy care and testing, call Summa Health’s OB/GYN and midwifery specialists at 330.319.9500 to schedule an appointment.