Prenatal Testing and Procedures You Need to Know About- for those of us that are not doctors

You’re pregnant!  Congrats and get ready for a whirlwind of fun and excitement.  For now, you’re sitting in your Doctor’s office for the first prenatal visit.  The first visit is overwhelming.  Several options regarding procedures, nutrition and different prenatal testing are laid on the table.

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prenatal testing questions

Honestly, I believe there should be a standard manual mailed to you as soon as you make the first appointment.  Instead, we are left there on the exam table being informed of all these complex prenatal testing options with long fancy names we cannot pronounce or even repeat.  Sometimes, our pregnant selves just need a simple break down of what we are looking at.

Perhaps, you’re simply stumped by all the medical jargon being thrown around. (like myself)   Rather than sit there with your pregnancy brain spinning in circles, let’s take some time to go over optional prenatal testing and procedures.  These tests and procedures are optional.  However, you may want to consider them during those first few weeks.

Prenatal Testing

You will have the option to test for potential genetic diseases.  If you are interested in any optional tests, check with your insurance provider.  Be sure these tests are covered beforehand.  Some may cost a pretty penny.  It is entirely up to you what you want your body to go through.  Therefore, know that if you want to refuse any testing offered, then absolutely do so.  You know what is best for your body and baby.

prenatal testing and procedures

Prenatal Test: Cystic Fibrosis Screening

This is a simple blood screening test that determines if you are a gene carrier.  Further testing will be taken if the test is positive to find out if the baby has Cystic Fibrosis.  Your doctor will inform you of any procedures needed thereafter.

First Trimester Screen ( Nuchal Translucency)

During this type of prenatal testing, an ultrasound and blood test is performed.  This will occur between 11 and 13 weeks after conception.  The test determines the risk for Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 13 and 18.

Prenatal Test: AFP-4 ( Quad Screen)

This blood screening test is performed between 15 to 20 weeks.  The test will determine the risk for Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and birth defects of the spinal cord and skull.

prenatal testing types

Prenatal Test: Amniocentesis

At approximately 16 weeks gestation is when this prenatal testing is done.  The test recognizes abnormal genes associated with Down’s Syndrome.  A needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen into the baby’s sac.  Amniotic fluid is removed for genetic testing.

Prenatal Test: CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling)

Between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy this test may be performed.  The test recognizes abnormal genes that relate to Down’s Syndrome.  During this procedure, a needle is inserted through the Mother’s abdomen or cervix.  Next, placental tissue is gathered, which is then taken in for genetic testing.

prenatal testing


You cant wait to see your baby, right!?  Around 18 to 22 weeks of pregnancy, an ultrasound is given to evaluate fetal anatomy.  Your doctor will measure and evaluate your baby’s size to determine if they are maturing at a healthy rate.

Additional ultrasounds will be performed based on the medical need.  Most insurance companies will only cover this additional service if there is a medical need.

The Rh Factor

Your blood will be tested for the Rh factor during prenatal visits.  If your blood type is Rh negative, then you may be at risk for Rh disease, which affects about 10% of people.  Rh disease is a pregnancy complication  that causes your immune system to attack the baby’s blood and may result in a life threatening situation for the baby.

Don’t worry momma!  Fortunately, this can be prevented with a shot called Rhogam which is given at 28 weeks gestation or anytime if vaginal bleeding occurs.  If you find yourself Rh negative, contact your doctor immediately if bleeding occurs or trauma to your belly.

prenatal tests


The Center for Disease Control concludes that women pregnant during the flu season should receive a flu shot.   Additionally, pregnant women who have not had a dose of Tdap, should receive one after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  The Tdap vaccine protects mom and baby against tetanus, diphtheria and Pertussis.

Receiving the vaccine in pregnancy gives your baby extra protection against whopping cough.  The vaccine is absorbed into your body and transmitted to them while in a fetal stage.  This is wonderful for your newborns health considering the vaccine cannot be administered to babies until they are 2 months of age.

Prenatal Vitamins

It’s important to take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid and DHA prior to conception, throughout pregnancy and postpartum while breastfeeding.  Your body will need the extra support and nutrition as you work vigorously to bake that baby and recover thereafter.  Therefore, its crucial to provide your body with that extra little something to maintain a healthy balance.

Before diving into your hippy bag of natural remedies and supplements, be sure to check with your doctor regarding any herbs, supplements and vitamins.  Some herbal supplements are not safe for a fetus.

Several prenatal vitamins on the market are readily available, even for vegetarians.  Do your research to find the prenatal vitamin that is best for you. Rainbow Light Prenatal One is a brand I found to be my favorites while pregnant with my children.

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