Scans & Tests

Scan & Tests can confirm your pregnancy and also monitor your baby’s development in the womb

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Scans that are needed after second trimester

Knowing the number and types of scans that a pregnant woman needs to undergo during their pregnancy can help them prepare mentally for it. Though the most important scan during your pregnancy is the anomaly scan that is offered at 20 weeks or half-way through your pregnancy, one might have to undergo further scans if they have had complications in their previous or present pregnancy. Usually, a doctor keeps a track of the growing baby by measuring the fundal height, the distance between the front of your pelvis to the top of your womb, your weight, and the baby bump. They would record your blood pressure regularly. They would measure your insulin levels once in the starting and if you are not prone to developing diabetes or gestational diabetes, then once towards the end. However, they might opt for blood and urine samples to keep an eye on blood levels and infections. If they do detect a problem with any of these tests, they might ask you to undergo a scan, but only as a secondary level test to check on something particular. Growth Scan If your doctor feels that the measurement of the baby bump and the fundal height do not match or are not as expected, then they might ask you to take the growth scan. You might also be asked to take a scan, if your doctor feels that there is more amniotic fluid than normal. Other reasons for asking you to opt for a scan could include: Gestational diabetes Hypertension Monitoring position of the baby (especially if breech), placenta, and umbilical cord Checking on twins, triplets or other multiple births Screening the working of the heart and placenta A point to note here is that your doctor would not ask you to take the growth scan if the baby seems bigger, but the rest of the symptoms of the pregnancy are normal. This is because once the third trimester starts, the baby takes on an individualistic shape and size. They no longer conform to general rules and develop as per their genes. Also, as they grow, it becomes more and more difficult to measure them. A growth scan shows how the baby is growing, by measuring their blood flow, checking their movements and measuring them. Baby movements include things like stretching, flexing, moving arms and legs, wiggling toes and fingers, opening and closing hands and moving tongue and lips. Inability to do these indicates a lack of oxygen, increasing the chances of a premature delivery. What a growth scan would not show is the baby weight, source of bleeding, if any, or the correctness of the due date. Though ultrasound scans are absolutely normal, with no side effects for either the mother or the baby, be assured that your doctor would recommend these only when they are medically absolutely essential.   Featured Image Source 

Regular urine tests during pregnancy may be as important as all the other scans.

Urine tests help your doctor find early warning signals that can help her diagnose certain serious conditions. These conditions may cause problems during your pregnancy for both you and your baby. That’s why your doctor will ask you to get a urine test and take the report to every antenatal appointment. How to get a urine test done? You will have to give your urine sample to the lab which will conduct the test. You need to use a sterile container to collect your urine. You can get it from the lab or at any chemist shop. It’s also better to pee for a few seconds before you collect the sample. The lab conducts the test and generally gives you the report within one day. It may take some more time if your doctor has asked for something more than the standard test. What does a urine test help to diagnose? A urine test can diagnose a number of disorders based on the levels of protein, nitrite and sugar in your urine. Here are some of the most common disorders that can be diagnosed through a urine test. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) A UTI can be diagnosed when there is an unusually high level of protein in your urine combined with nitrites and white cells. You may need further tests to determine if it is a UTI and which kind. You may then need to have antibiotics to get rid of the infection. UTI may be linked to premature birth so it’s important to diagnose and treat it on time. Gestational Diabetes (GD) This is a kind of diabetes that happens only when you’re pregnant. It may lead to certain complications like premature labour and birthing problems. It may lead to Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the child in the future. An early diagnosis of GD is very important. High sugar in urine sometimes alerts the doctor to a possibility of GD. If the doctor suspects you have GD, she will recommend a GTT(Glucose Tolerance Test) to make a definitive diagnosis. Pre-eclampsia This occurs in the second half of the pregnancy and is related to high blood pressure. It can result in pregnancy complications including poor growth of the baby can result from pre-eclampsia. If diagnosed on time, pre-eclampsia can be managed effectively. This can be done through regular urine tests as well as blood pressure check-ups. This is because symptoms of pre-eclampsia like intense headaches, sudden swelling of your face, hands and feet, and vision problems, such as blurring or flashing don’t usually appear until it’s too late. Urine tests perform a key role in helping the doctor diagnose certain important disorders. It’s therefore critical to get your tests done in time for your antenatal appointments.  

Don't even think of missing the First Trimester Scans if you care for your baby!

First Trimester Scans The first trimester scans are important as they offer a lot of early information about how the baby is developing, their health and if they are suffering from any congenital or chromosomal deficits. Typically, a mother-to-be has two scans in the first trimester. The first scan is ideally done between week 6 and week 9 and the second is done between week 11 and week 13. While the first scan is called the dating and viability scan, the second is called a nuchal translucency scan. First scan The dating and viability scan confirms the pregnancy. It also helps determine if the baby has Down syndrome or Trisomy 18. Down syndrome is a congenital disorder that causes lifelong impairment in social and physical development of the child. On the other hand, Trisomy 18 causes severe delays in developmental growth and often proves to be fatal by age 1. This is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome called Chromosome 18. The first scan also checks for the following: Presence of heartbeat: Heartbeat is one of the first signs that confirms the viability of a pregnancy. It can usually be heard from around week 6 and the first scan can help you hear this. Position of baby: This scan helps check the position of the baby in the uterus. It ensures that the fetus has not implanted itself in the tubes or anywhere else except for the uterus. Due date: As it is not possible to ascertain the due date basis the menstrual cycle (some women may have irregular periods or may not remember the exact date of their last period), this scan helps determine the time elapsed since the pregnancy and the likely due date. Number of babies: The first scan also determines the number of babies you are carrying. The date and viability scan might either be a transvaginal scan (TVS) or an abdominal scan. If the scan is performed before you complete 10 weeks, then a TVS would be performed, as the baby is too small and too low for the abdominal ultrasound to detect. Second scan A lot of mothers-to-be may miss the first scan if they realize that they are pregnant at a later date or because they have irregular periods. In this case, the nuchal translucency scan is performed. This is an abdominal scan and measures the clear space in the tissue at the child’s nape. This particular scan also checks for the following: Placenta position Presence and length of nasal bone Fetal spine and limbs Fetal stomach and any defects in the abdominal wall Urinary bladder Blood circulation Cervix of the mother-to-be Crown to rump length of the baby Why are first scans important? The first scans are important in the following cases: Irregular periods Previous miscarriage Spotting or bleeding Two or more pregnancies Maternal age more than 35 years Any other pregnancy complications First scans in the pregnancy are necessary to help you prepare for the course of your pregnancy, further tests, medical treatment and how to manage a child with special needs, if you have one. It prepares you mentally and physically for the upcoming challenges of a pregnancy. Featured Image Source

Why and how is CVS test done

The Chorionic Villus Sampling or CVS Test is prescribed between the 10th to 12th weeks of gestation. It is a prenatal test, which helps detect genetic diseases, birth defects, and any other issues related to the pregnancy. What happens in the CVS Test? In the CVS test a tiny bit of Chorionic villi is drawn out from the placenta as sample. This sample is taken from the place where the placenta is attached to the uteral wall. The Chorionic Villi are taken because they possess the same genes, which will be present in the baby eventually. Therefore, they make the best sample to ascertain whether the baby is at risk of developing any genetic diseases or birth defects. This test helps detect any such conditions early in the pregnancy. Diseases and Disorders Easily Identifiable Via The CVS Test Here are some diseases that the CVS test helps detect timely and with 98% accuracy – Chromosomal disorders such as - Down syndrome Genetic diseases like - cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell anemia. Gender specific disorders such as - muscular dystrophy commonly seen in male babies. This test is also used to identify the gender of the foetus as well. Who is suggested the CVS Test? Experts advise that the CVS test may only be suggested to women who are at a greater risk of having babies with genetic defects and disorders. These include - Couples where one partner already has a genetic disorder or carries a genetic disease/chromosomal abnormality. Couples with a family history of birth defects either in a previous pregnancy or a family member who has birth defects. A pregnant woman 35 years or older on her due date. Higher the age of the woman, greater is the risk of the offspring having chromosomal defects such as Down syndrome. A pregnant woman who displays abnormal results in genetic tests. It is, however, a couple’s choice whether to get the test done or not. Advantages of the CVS Test CVS takes place very early in the pregnancy. It is done even before amniocentesis. Therefore, it informs about defects and diseases quite early allowing timely action and appropriate choices. The results of the CVS test come within 10 days. Termination of pregnancy upon receipt of abnormal test results is much safer for the woman since the same is done early in the pregnancy. Disadvantages of the CVS Test The CVS poses a little higher threat of miscarriage as compared to amniocentesis, as it is done very early in pregnancy. Risk of infection too is higher at this stage. The CVS Test Procedure Counseling - When someone is recommended a CVS test, she is given elaborate genetic counseling that involves detailed information of the advantages and disadvantage of taking the test. The risks involved are clearly communicated to the patient so that an informed decision can be made. Ultrasound - After the counseling an ultrasound examination is done to ascertain the gestational age of the foetus and to identify placental location. This is because it is best to perform the CVS test 10 to 12 weeks from the last menstrual period of the woman. Collection of the chorionic villi - The chorionic villi are collected from the placenta either via the abdomen or the vagina. A quick test, it takes hardly 30 minutes in all. The procedure might be slightly painful to some women. There are two ways of collecting the sample. These are - The abdominal collection - This is done using a needle. This needle is inserted into the placenta through the mother’s abdomen. The vaginal collection - This is done using a speculum, which is inserted in the vagina. Then, a small portion of the placenta is removed by inserting a thin tube of plastic into the cervix via the vagina. Ultrasound imaging is used to guide the whole process. Laboratory sample testing - The collected sample is sent to the lab. Here it is cultured for in a fluid for further testing after a few more days. Results - The results are made available to the patient in two weeks. Precaution to take after the CVS Test Take it slow and easy once the test is over. Get off the bed slowly and take assistance while you steady yourself. Avoid driving yourself back home. Make sure someone assists you to the hospital and back. Rest well the rest of the day and preferably put pillows under your feet for added comfort. It is normal for doctors to advise abstinence from exercise, strenuous work, and sex for the next three days to avoid any stress. Experiencing minimal bleeding and some cramps are normal. However, the same must still be reported to the doctor. Any discharge or fluid leaks from the vagina must immediately be reported to the doctor without any delays. The test when suggested is in your best interest. It is therefore advised that if your doctor feels the need for a CVS test, you must consider it to ensure you have a healthy baby.