Risk Assessment Tests for Expectant Mothers, By Dr. Philip Shlossman

Throughout a pregnancy, most physicians recommend a variety of tests for expectant mothers and fetuses. These tests provide ongoing information about the mother’s and baby’s health, which allows doctors to address any problems early and prevent them from escalating.

While a woman’s medical history will likely affect which specific tests a physician performs, certain tests are more or less standard for all pregnant women. Common tests performed during pregnancy include the following:

Ultrasounds. These tests use sound waves to create an image of the fetus. If a physician detects potential problems, he or she can perform more detailed ultrasounds to get more information.

Maternal blood tests. Some blood tests are used to evaluate the risk of chromosomal abnormalities and other birth defects.

Maternal immune system tests. Swabs and samples taken from the mother are used to determine whether the mother has any infections or diseases that could affect the fetus.

Ongoing screenings. At regular intervals, physicians monitor maternal blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as other indicators of overall health.

About the Author:

As Vice President of the Delaware Center for Maternal & Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care, Dr. Philip Shlossman provides care for women throughout their pregnancy and delivery. Dr. Shlossman lives in Wilmington, Delaware.

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