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Common Tests

Listed below are some common tests performed during pregnancy. Your doctor will let you know if any of these tests are appropriate for the care of you and your unborn baby:

Maternal Serum Triple Screen or Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP)
A blood test to check the development of the baby’s brain or spinal cord and determine your risk for birth defects.

  • Genetic TestingAmniocentesis: A small amount of fluid from within the sac that surrounds the baby is taken to perform genetic screening and testing.
  • Chorionic Villis Sampling (CVS): A test that can be done in the first trimester to determine genetic defects.

A test performed on urine to determine unusually high amounts of ketones, protein (indicating possible infection or kidney disease), sugar (indicating diabetes), or bacteria (indicating a bladder or kidney infection).

Glucose Screening (GCT) and Glucose Tolerance Testing (GTT)
A GCT and GTT are tests to screen for gestational diabetes around 24-28 weeks. During a GCT, the mother drinks a solution of highly concentrated sugar. After one hour her blood is drawn and tested to determine the level of sugar (glucose) in her blood. During a GTT, the mother drinks a solution of high concentrated sugar and blood samples are drawn and tested over a three-hour period.

Maternal Electrocardiogram (EKG)
An electrocardiogram is a simple, painless test that records the electrical activity of the heart over time. An EKG shows how fast your heart is beating, whether the rhythm of your heartbeat is steady or irregular and the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of your heart.

Ultrasound – (US)
Because you have diabetes, a test in which sound waves are used to produce images of the fetus will be done at about 18 and 36 weeks.

Non-stress Test (NST)
A non-stress test monitors your baby’s heart rate in response to its own movements and kicks. When the baby moves, a healthy baby’s heartbeat increases slightly and returns to normal almost immediately. An external fetal monitor is used to measure fetal well-being by graphing fetal movements felt by the mother along with corresponding changes in the fetal heart rate. A NST may be performed later in your pregnancy once or twice a week until your delivery. This test usually takes 20-30 minutes. A NST may be done for a number of reasons. Some of these include: abnormal amniotic fluid level, inadequate growth of the baby, decreased fetal movement, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, advanced maternal age (35 or older), multiple gestation, or when the pregnancy goes beyond the due date.

Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI)
An amniotic fluid index measures the amount of fluid that surrounds your baby. This test is performed by ultrasound and is usually done late in pregnancy. The index may be performed once or twice a week until your delivery, and is often performed with a non- stress test..

Biophysical Profile (BPP)
The biophysical profile is a non-stress test (NST) and ultrasound (sound waves that produce an image of your baby). The ultrasound observes the baby’s breathing, muscle tone, body movement, and the amount of amniotic fluid (AFI). To assess your baby’s well being, the BPP may be repeated once or twice a week until your delivery.

Fetal Echocardiography
Fetal echocardiography is a specialized ultrasound devoted to examination of the baby’s heart anatomy. Ultrasound waves produce images of your baby’s heart. If there is a risk of your infant having a congenital heart abnormality, this specialized test is ordered by your physician. Fetal echocardiograms are done at about 22-24 weeks for women with diabetes during pregnancy

Other Tests
Hemoglobin A1Cs (HbA1c) is a blood test to check your average blood sugar over the last 3 months. Thyroid stimulating hormone, Free T4, Creatinine clearance and total protein to check your kidney function will be ordered as needed, and a retinal exam to check your vision the first three months of pregnancy.

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Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Medical Sciences Building Room 7254
231 Albert Sabin Way
Mail Location: 0526
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0526

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