During your pregnancy, you will experience a variety of exams, tests, and procedures. Some of the tests are routine for all pregnant women. Others are optional or may be recommended by your doctor in certain situations or if there are complications.
You should keep all appointments with your doctor so that he or
she can detect any problems as soon as possible. If any problems or
potential problems are identified, your doctor can plan for your
care as necessary. During each visit, your doctor will ask about
any symptoms or problems you may be having, particularly:
Swelling of your hands or feet
What Will My Doctor Look for During Prenatal Exams?
Your doctor will look for and ask about signs and symptoms at the
various stages of pregnancy. He or she will look for:
Symptoms of early pregnancy such as morning sickness, breast
enlargement and tenderness, and frequent urination
An embryo, viewed with ultrasound
Enlarged uterus (6-8 weeks)
Enlarged abdomen (14 weeks)
Fetal heartbeat (8-12 weeks)
Movement of the baby (18 weeks)
Changes in your vagina, cervix, and skin
What Routine Tests and Procedures Can I Expect to Have?
You will probably have the following routine tests and
Pelvic exam, to determine the size of your pelvis and uterus
test and tests for other sexually transmitted diseases (routinely recommended)
Vaginal/rectal culture for
Group B streptococcus
(at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy) to prevent infection of the baby during labor and delivery
Women with certain medical conditions have a higher risk of
having problems during pregnancy and, therefore, need regular
prenatal testing. Examples include women with
high blood pressure
, kidney disease,
, multiple pregnancies (two
or more fetuses), too much or too little amniotic fluid, or
What Additional Tests Might Be Ordered?
Your doctor may order the following tests if he or she thinks
they are medically necessary:
Serum alpha-fetoprotein—This screening is used to detect
certain birth defects.
Triple/quadruple blood screen test—This test gives more information about risk of birth defects and includes tests for alpha-fetoprotein, conjugated estradiol, and human chorionic gonadotrophin, as well as Inhibin A in the quadruple screen. If the results are positive, this screening test may be supplemented by an
Nonstress tests—These tests check changes in the baby’s heart rate as it moves.
First-trimester ultrasound—The ultrasound is used for dating of pregnancy or detecting chromosome abnormalities.
Genetic testing—Preconceptional or prenatal gene carrier screening is recommended for genetic diseases in individuals of Eastern European Jewish descent.
Amniocentesis—This test is used for detecting chromosomal abnormalities
and birth defects.
First-trimester screening for aneuploidy [committee opinion]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2004 July;296.
Prenatal and preconceptional carrier screening for genetic diseases in individuals of Eastern European Jewish descent [committee opinion]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2004;298.
Prevention of early-onset group B streptococcal disease in newborns [committee opinion]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2002 Dec;279.
Ultrasonography in pregnancy [practice bulletin]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2004 Dec;58.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a