Laboratory Tests and Pregnancy

Lab tests are obtained regularly during your pregnancy. At each visit we will check your urine for protein, glucose, and any signs of urinary tract infections as well as components of the urine. You can leave a urine specimen as soon as you come in.

Early in your pregnancy we will check your blood for anemia (or too few oxygen carrying cells), signs of infection or problems with the clotting ability of your blood system and  sexually transmitted diseases.  Your doctor will discuss any problems with you either at your next visit, or by phone call if it is necessary to treat a problem sooner. Your doctor will also do a Pap test at this time.

First trimester (11-13 weeks) screening tests includes a blood test combined with an ultrasound (Ultrascreen). This testing can detect up to 90% of Down’s Syndrome and up to 98% of Trisomy13, Trisomy 18 and Turner’s syndrome.

Second trimester (15-20 weeks) screening tests include a blood test (MSAFP) done at 15 weeks in our office. This test predicts your risk for spinal cord defects (neural tube defects), Down’s syndrome and Trisomy 18. An AFP test can be done for only spinal cord information or both spinal cord and Down’s syndrome.

At 18-20 weeks an ultrasound will confirm your baby’s growth, your due date and can detect 35% of fetal birth defects, but misses 65% of all birth defects.

Second trimester invasive testing is called an amniocentesis. This test is performed by an obstetrician or obstetric radiologist by inserting a needle through the mother’s abdomen into the uterine cavity. Fluid withdrawn from the uterus contains the baby’s cells and chromosomes. Results take 7-10 days. This test has a risk of miscarriage of 1 in 250.

All testing is optional and is your personal choice.

At about 28 weeks, we will test for diabetes. The risk of diabetes increases if you are overweight, are not active, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, have a family history of diabetes, have polycystic ovary syndrome or cardiovascular disease or are Native American, Asian, Hispanic, African American or Pacific Islander.

At 36 weeks we will check for GBS , which is a bacteria that pregnant women can have in the vagina, not affecting them, but affecting the baby. It is not a sexually transmitted disease.