Pregnancy screening tests are typically performed during the first and second trimesters to determine if the baby is developing normally or is likely to have certain birth defects and to screen for health conditions that could be dangerous to the mother or the baby. Examples of some common pregnancy screening tests include:
Many of the tests are available at your local MD Now Clinic. Depending upon your age and other risk factors, your provider may recommend more advanced tests to check for Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities.
Even non-diabetic women can develop high blood sugar during pregnancy, which is known as gestational diabetes. The condition is primarily caused by the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that affect the way the body responds to insulin; however, weight gain, an increase in fat deposits, and a decrease in physical activity may also play a role. Gestational diabetes normally resolves on its own following birth, but it can cause a number of complications, including high birth weight, premature birth, and an increased risk of preeclampsia. Although a gestational diabetes test is recommended for all pregnant women, it is especially important for women with the following risk factors:
Most pregnancy tests can detect a pregnancy 10 to 14 days following conception; however, it is best to wait until the week after your missed period for the most accurate result. If you don’t want to wait until you have missed a period, it is a good idea to at least wait until one to two weeks after you have had sex to give time for the egg to implant and your body to develop detectable levels of the pregnancy hormone known as hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin.
At-home pregnancy tests, including an early result first-response test, can be up to 99% accurate when used according to directions. Several factors may cause you to have a positive pregnancy test even when you are not pregnant:
Pregnancy detector tests check the urine for the hormone hCG. The placenta starts producing hCG almost immediately after the fertilized egg implants in the uterus and levels normally double every 72 hours through the eighth to 11th week of pregnancy. A first-response early result pregnancy test can be used at home to check for the presence of hCG in the urine. A positive pregnancy test means that the hormone is present. A positive pregnancy test is normally indicated by a change in color, a line, the word “pregnant,” or a plus symbol.
Blood pregnancy tests are up to 99% accurate. Similar to the at-home urine tests, a blood pregnancy screening checks for the presence of hCG in the blood. Although rare, it is possible to get a false negative result if you test too early since there may not be enough hCG in the blood to be detected. This is why most providers suggest waiting until you have a missed period. Certain medications, such as promethazine and certain diuretics, may also lower the amount of hCG in the blood and affect the accuracy of test results.
Depending on the type of test, it is possible to perform a prenatal paternity test as early as the eighth week of pregnancy.
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