What tests might I need during pregnancy?
Every woman has certain tests during pregnancy. Some women, depending on their age, family history, or ethnicity, may undergo additional testing.
Some tests are screening tests, and others are diagnostic tests. If your health care provider orders a screening test, keep in mind that such tests do not diagnose problems. They evaluate risk. So a screening test result that comes back abnormal does not mean there is a problem with your infant. It means that more information is needed. Your health care provider can explain what the test results mean and possible next steps.
The types of tests you may have during pregnancy include:
- Glucose challenge screening. Given between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, this screening determines your risk for gestational diabetes. You will consume a sugary drink and get a blood test 1 hour later to measure your blood sugar levels.
- Group B streptococcus (pronounced STREP-tuh-KOK-uhss) infection screening. This test is performed between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy to look for bacteria (GBS) that can cause pneumonia or other serious infections in your infant. Swabs will be used to take cells from your vagina and rectum. Women who test positive for GBS will need antibiotics when in labor.
- Ultrasound exam. You will likely have an ultrasound exam between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy to check for any problems with the developing fetus. During an ultrasound exam, gel is spread on your belly and a special tool is moved over it to create a "picture" of the fetus on a monitor.
- Urine test. At each prenatal visit, you will give a urine sample, which will be tested for signs of diabetes, urinary tract infections, and preeclampsia.
To read more about this topic, from this and related documents, please see the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.You might also wish to see the HealthyNJ pages: Childbirth, Diabetes in Pregnancy, Prenatal Care,Pregnancy, Premature Birth and Problems During Pregnancy.