First Trimester Screening Tests During Pregnancy

by Alex James
First Trimester Screening Tests

The first trimester in your pregnancy is counted from the very first day of your last menstrual cycle. It, usually, lasts until 12 weeks – meaning by the time you know you have conceived; you might already be 5/6 weeks pregnant.

During your first trimester, your baby grows faster than any other time in your pregnancy. By 6 weeks, your baby may develop a heartbeat. This is when keeping close tabs on you and your baby becomes all the more important.

Your private gynaecologist at Medical Express Clinic may offer a bunch of prenatal and screening tests in this stage to find out any health conditions that could affect you or your baby.

There are two types of prenatal screening tests that include screening tests and diagnostic tests.

What Are Prenatal Screening Tests?

Making an informed, timely decision is important when it comes to ensuring you and your baby’s health. Prenatal screening tests are meant to find out if there is a health issue beforehand. This means your gynaecologist can take preventative measures to help protect your health early.

What about Diagnostic Tests?

If a certain problem is found out in a screening test, it puts you at a greater risk of having a baby with a genetic problem. Taking a diagnostic test becomes necessary to ensure a diagnosis.

First Trimester Prenatal Screening Tests

First trimester prenatal screenings are a combination of fetal ultrasound and blood testing. These screenings may be used alone or sometimes with other tests.

Prenatal Tests During First Trimester Pregnancy

  • Urine test: A urine test is used to check for infections such as a bladder/ kidney infection and other conditions.
  • Blood tests: Certain infections like syphilis, HIV or hepatitis B can be found through blood tests. It may also help determine your blood type and Rh factor. Your doctor will be sure if you have anemia or not by using the results of blood tests.
  • Carrier screening for genetic conditions: This test shows whether you have certain genetic conditions that could affect your baby’s health. Carrier screening tests happens before pregnancy or during the first trimester. If you or your partner is a carrier, this test allows you to find out if your baby has the condition/ a carrier of the condition.
  • Cell-free fetal DNA testing: In this test, analysis of your baby’s DNA through your blood occurs. The test results show whether your baby has a genetic condition such as Down syndrome. When your healthcare provider suspects your baby may have a birth defect, he or she will recommend you this test to confirm the results.
  • First trimester ultrasound: Early ultrasound uses a computer screen and sound waves to create a picture of your baby inside the womb. This test is for ensuring your pregnancy or to date your pregnancy. Thus, you know for how many weeks you are pregnant.
  • Chronic villus sampling: It is a diagnostic test that checks your placenta tissue to check whether your baby has a genetic condition or not. Your doctor may recommend you to have tested when:
  1. You are older than
  2. You have a family history of genetic conditions
  • Screening in your first trimester shows that your baby is at higher risk for birth defects

Ultrasound in First Trimester Pregnancy

A fetal ultrasound in first trimester pregnancy involves using soundwaves to produce multiple images of the fetus. With this imaging technique, your doctor can evaluate your baby’s growth while keeping close tabs on your pregnancy.

Sometimes, a fetal ultrasound helps evaluate potential issues or confirm a genetic condition. Two primary types of fetal ultrasound tests are there:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound: A wand like device known as a transducer is placed in the patient’s vagina to transmit sound waves and produce reflections. This test is for early pregnancy.
  • Transabdominal ultrasound: This involves moving a transducer over the patient’s abdomen to produce images of the fetus inside.

There are other different types of transabdominal ultrasounds available, which may include but not limited to:

  • Doppler ultrasound: It helps measure changes (even the slightest)in the ultrasound waves as they bounce off blood cells that are frequently moving. The results of this test help your healthcare provider has an insight into the blood flow of the baby.
  • 3D ultrasound: In this ultrasound, you get a 2D display of 3D data. It is for ensuring whether there are any facial abnormalities or neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Fetal echocardiography: When it comes to having an in-depth overview of your baby’s heart, this test is helpful. The test might help in diagnosing or ruling out a congenital heart condition in your baby.
  • Specialized sonographic evaluation: This test is for confirming if a fetal abnormality is there.

Key Takeaway

Undergoing a series of tests during your first trimester pregnancy may make you feel overwhelming. Fortunately, the information you obtain through these tests can work in you and your baby’s favour. Make sure you consult your private gynaecologist to receive the right treatment or take any preventative measures if necessary.

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