Every parent has hopes for a healthy baby and it’s hard not to worry. Fortunately, a wide collection of tests for pregnant women can help reassure them and keep them informed throughout their pregnancies.
Prenatal testing can help identify-and often treat- health problems that could endanger both moms-to-be and the unborn child. They do, however, have some limitations. It is important for expectant parents to educate themselves about the various tests and at least think about what they will do in the event a health problem is detected in either mother or child.
Prenatal tests find, among other things, can determine key things about the mother’s health. This can include: her blood type, gestational diabetes, and immunity to certain diseases, STDs or cervical cancer. All of these conditions can affect the health of the fetus.
Things about the fetus’ health can also be determined through prenatal tests including whether it’s one of the 2% to 3% of babies in the United States that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says have major congenital birth defects.
Certain prenatal tests are considered routine since almost all pregnant women receiving prenatal care get them. Other, non-routine tests are recommended only for certain women who may have high-risk pregnancies. This might include women who are 35 or older, have had a premature baby, a baby with a birth defect, high blood pressure, diabetes, lupus, asthma, or a seizure disorder. It can be especially important if either the mother or her partner has an ethnic background in which genetic disorders or common and for couples who have a family history of mental retardation.