Pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg after it’s released from the ovary during ovulation. The fertilized egg then travels down into the uterus, where implantation occurs. A successful implantation results in pregnancy.
Pregnancy is the period of time when a fetus develops inside a woman’s uterus and ends with the birth of the infant. There are a variety of clinical laboratory tests typically used prior to and throughout pregnancies. The tests provide useful information from the time pregnancy is first considered through the initial days of the newborn’s life.
On average, a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. There are many factors that can affect a pregnancy. Women who receive an early pregnancy diagnosis and prenatal care are more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.
Symptoms of pregnancy
You may notice some signs and symptoms before you even take a pregnancy test. Others will appear weeks later, as your hormone levels change.
- Missed period
- Weight gain
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Back pain
- Breast changes
- Hip pain
- Stress and pregnancy
Pregnancy week by week
- Preconception :
When a woman is considering having a child, she and the prospective father should consult with their healthcare practitioner(s). Based on the family and medical histories of the biological parents, certain tests may be recommended to help ensure as healthy a pregnancy as possible. These tests include genetic testing for certain inherited diseases and disorders to understand the risk of having a child with one of these and tests to detect any infections or conditions that the mother-to-be may have that could put her or her unborn baby at risk.
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- First Trimester:
A baby grows rapidly during the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12). The fetus begins developing their brain, spinal cord, and organs. The baby’s heart will also begin to beat.
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- Second Trimester:
During the second trimester of pregnancy (weeks 13 to 27), your healthcare provider will likely perform an anatomy scan ultrasound.
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- Third Trimester:
During the third trimester (weeks 28 to Delivery), your weight gain will accelerate, and you may feel more tired.
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- An ultrasound will be used to confirm and date your pregnancy.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG
- Complete Blood Test
- Blood Glucose Test
- Urine C/E
- Blood group
- Anti HCV
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- Pregnancy and vaginal discharge.
- Pregnancy and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Pregnancy prevention.
- Pregnancy diet.
- Pregnancy and exercise.
- Pregnancy massage.
- When to seek medical care.
- Pregnancy and labor.
- The takeaway.
Tests Associated with Pregnancy
|PURPOSE||TEST NAME||WHY PERFORMED||WHEN PERFORMED||WHO PERFORMED ON/SAMPLE|
|Genetic tests for inherited diseases||Genetic testing for inherited diseases||Check carrier status for certain genetic diseases to determine risk of having a baby with such a disease||Preconception or first trimester||Mother and father (blood sample)|
|Genetic testing for hemoglobin disorders||Check carrier status for certain abnormal hemoglobin disorders to determine risk of having a baby with such a disease||Preconception or during pregnancy||Mother and father (blood sample)|
|Cystic fibrosis carrier testing||Check carrier status for CF||Preconception or first trimester||Mother and father (blood sample)|
|Testing to detect health conditions in the mother||Blood glucose or hemoglobin A1c||To screen women at risk of type 2 diabetes (which is different than gestational diabetes)||Preconception or first trimester||Mother (blood sample)|
|Pap test and HPV testing||Screen for cervical cancer and some STDs||Preconception or first trimester||Mother (cells from her cervix)|
|Immunity to rubella (German measles)||Check for immunity to the virus, which can cause birth defects||Preconception or first trimester||Mother (blood sample)|
|HIV screening test||Check for HIV infection so steps can be taken to reduce likelihood of transmission to the baby||Preconception or first trimester; may be repeated in third trimester if at high risk||Mother (blood sample)|
|Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis tests||Check for STD infections, which can cause miscarriage or infect the baby during delivery||Preconception or first trimester; may be repeated in third trimester if at high risk||Mother (cervical cells, urine or blood sample, depending on test)|
|Hepatitis B and hepatitis C screening||Detect hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection||Pre-conception or first trimester; may be repeated in the third trimester if at high risk||Mother (blood sample)|
|Varicella zoster virus testing||Check for immunity to chickenpox, which can cause birth defects||Preconception or first trimester||Mother (blood sample)|
|TORCH panel||Check for infection with toxoplasmosis and other infections that can cause birth defects||Preconception or first trimester, if infections suspected||Mother (blood sample)|
|Bacterial vaginosis||Detect infection, which can cause pre-term labor||Preconception or whenever symptoms experienced||Mother (vaginal secretions)|
|Urine culture for bacteriuria||Detect bacterial infection in the urinary tract, which can lead to kidney infection or increased risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight||First prenatal visit or between 12 and 16 weeks of pregnancy; may be repeated in third trimester||Mother (urine sample)|
|Group B streptococcus||Detect infection, which can harm the baby during birth and infect the mother’s uterus, urinary tract, and any incision made during a cesarean section||Between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy||Mother (specimen from vaginal and rectal areas)|
|Confirmation and monitoring of pregnancy and health of mother||Pregnancy test (hCG)||Confirm pregnancy||First trimester||Mother (blood sample)|
|Urine screen for glucose and/or protein||Check for signs of kidney or bladder infection, undiagnosed diabetes or gestational diabetes, or pre-eclampsia||Each prenatal visit||Mother (urine sample)|
|Complete blood count (CBC)||Check for anemia and/or detect low platelet count||Preconception and/or early in the first trimester; repeated in third trimester||Mother (blood sample)|
|Blood typing and antibody screen||Check for potential incompatibility in blood type between mother and fetus (such as Rh factor antibodies)||First trimester; antibody screen repeated between weeks 28 and 29 of pregnancy||Mother (blood sample)|
|Glucose challenge test/oral glucose tolerance test||Check for gestational diabetes||Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy||Mother (blood sample)|
|Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)||In women with known thyroid conditions, to adjust medication if necessary||Throughout pregnancy||Mother (blood sample)|
|Detection of fetal abnormalities or assessment of risk||First trimester Down syndrome screen||Assess risk of carrying a fetus with certain chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome||Usually between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy||Mother (blood sample plus ultrasound)|
|Second trimester maternal serum screen||Assess risk of carrying a fetus with certain chromosomal abnormalities or open neural tube defects||Between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy||Mother (blood sample)|
|Cell-free fetal DNA||Assess risk of carrying a fetus with certain chromosomal abnormalities; currently recommended for women at high risk of having babies with these disorders||During or after the 10thweek of pregnancy||Mother (blood sample)|
|Chorionic villus sampling||Detect chromosomal disorders in the fetus||Between weeks 10 and 12 of pregnancy, if recommended||Mother (cells from the placenta)|
|Amniocentesis||Detect certain birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities||Between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, if recommended||Mother (amniotic fluid)|
|Cordocentesis||Detect chromosomal abnormalities, blood disorders, and certain infections||Between weeks 18 and 22 of pregnancy, if recommended||Mother/fetus (fetal blood sample obtained from vein in the umbilical cord)|
|Fetal maturity/readiness for birth||Amniocentesis||Check fetal lung development||After week 32 of pregnancy if risk of pre-term delivery||Mother (amniotic fluid)|
|Fetal fibronectin (fFN)||Detect fFN; negative result is highly predictive that pre-term delivery will NOT occur in the next 7-14 days||Between week 22 and 35 of pregnancy, if having symptoms of pre-term labor||Mother (cervical or vaginal fluid sample)|
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