Elisabeth Hasselbeck once said, “Pregnancy and motherhood are the most beautiful and significantly life-altering events that I have ever experienced.”
Care should be taken while enjoying this beautiful phase of a woman’s life.
To make pregnancy a pleasant journey, an array of tests is carried out on your prenatal visit(s). The obstetrician will ask you to get your blood investigated for blood type whether it is A, B, O or AB and whether it is Rh-positive or Rh-negative
This is important as Rh-negative pregnant females are given an injection of Rh-immune globulin once during pregnancy and second immediately after the birth if the newborn is Rh-positive.
This injection is extremely important as it keeps you protected against developing antibodies which can endanger your current as well as future pregnancies.
Total blood count-
Complete blood count is done to evaluate the percentage of hemoglobin, RBCs, WBCs and Platelet count.
Normally hemoglobin level should be between 12-14gm%. You are required to take haematinics in case your hemoglobin level is less than 12. Green leafy vegetables and lean meat are recommended as diet supplements to rectify anemia during pregnancy.
WBCs and platelets count is important as their elevated levels are indicative of presence of any underlying infection.
Rubella (German measles) immunity-
Rubella titre is done to assess the level of antibodies against rubella virus. Generally pregnant are immune to the rubella virus either because of past exposure to the disease during childhood or because of active rubella vaccination.
Rubella virus is very notorious and can cause preterm birth, miscarriage or even stillbirth. So if you are not vaccinated or immune to the mischievous virus, avoid contact with anyone the infection and get vaccinated immediately after delivery as vaccination during pregnancy is not done.
Hepatitis B testing-
Blood is tested for hepatitis B because the infection can be transmitted from carrier mother to the baby.
If an expectant mother is found to be hepatitis B carrier, she is given a shot of hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin within first twelve hours of the birth of the newborn. The second dose is given when the child is 1 month old and the final dose of the vaccine is given after 6 months.
Though syphilis is quite rare nowadays, still all pregnant women are tested to rule out its presence. Syphilis can threaten both the life of baby as well of that of the mother so it should not be ignored. The doctor gives antibiotics to the affected mothers.
Blood is routinely tested for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)- which is responsible for AIDS.
If a mother is found positive for HIV, adequate treatment can be given that can safeguard two precious lives that of the mother and the baby.
Other blood tests-
Blood is also tested to check the blood sugar level. Diabetes is dangerous and therefore a glucose challenge test is done to assess the level of sugar. If the mother is found to be diabetic, then she is given medicine for checking soaring sugar in blood.
First ultrasonographic examination (TVS-transvaginal ultrasound) is also done during your first visit. Earlier abdominal ultrasound was usually done but now with technological advancement, transvaginal sonography is done.
Between 8-12 weeks your baby’s heart beat can be heard with the aid of Doppler-a device which bounces the sound waves of your baby’s heart. Baby’s nuchal fold is also measured with the help of ultrasound.
Your doctor can also recommend you blood test for genetic disorders if he/she feels the need to do so such as tests for detecting whether you are a carrier of cystic fibrosis or not.
These tests ensure you a safe and healthy pregnancy and guarantee you a healthy baby.
So, go ahead for you pre natal visit!