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              Tests used in pregnancy 



Various tests and procedures are used in certain cased of pregnancy complications. Like all medical procedures, they offer advantages, but also carry risks. Therefore, they should be utilized only when medically indicated, to on a routine basis for your your doctors convenience or to satisfy your curiosity.


When deciding whether to undergo a test , ask your caregiver if the results will in any way alter his care of you. If his answer is yes, ask him how . If his answer is no, ask him if the test is therefore necessary. Make sure you understand all the  risks ad benefits involved before agreeing to, or reflecting, a procedure. Continue to ask questions and to request explanations until you feel comfortable. Understanding to benefits can help to relax you and may free you from concern about the procedure. Or, it can help you decide to ask for an alternative. 


Among the more common tests used in pregnancy are amniocentesis, chronic villus sampling, alpha-fetoprotein screening, ultrasound, X-ray pelvimentry, the estriol excretion study, fetal movement evaluation, the monstress test, and the oxytocin challenge test. 



Amniocentesis is a test to detect abnormalities in the baby. It may also be done to assess fetal lung maturity if induction of labor or cesarean delivery is indicated. The test is performed by administering a local anesthetic, then withdrawing a sample of amniotic fluid using a log needle inserted through the abdominal ad uterine walls. It should be done in conjunction with ultrasound, which will show the location of the  fetus, the placenta, ad the umbilical cord. 


Chorionic Villus


Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a test that can detect genetic abnormalities earlier than amniocentesis can. It usually done between the ninth and eleventh weeks of pregnancy. However it is not  available in all locations. 


Alpha- Fetoprotein Screening 


Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) screening is a blood test done on the women between the fifteenth and eighteenth weeks of pregnancy to screen for fetal abnormalities. AFP is a protein produced by the baby. A high level of AFP in the women's blood indicates a possible open neural tube defect such as spina bifid or anencephaly. A high level may also be caused by a multiple pregnancy or a miscalculation of gestational age . A low level may indicate Down syndrome. Also measuring two other substances human chorionic gonadotropin and unconjugated estriol-increases the accuracy of detecting Down syndrome. identifying about 70 percent of Down syndrome cases. 




Ultrasound was developed during World War I when high frequency sound waves were used to detect enemy submarines . A form of  ultrasound used in pregnancy testing is the sonogram, which uses intermittent sound waves. The sound waves are directed intros the  woman's abdomen with an outline of the baby, or to confirm a multiple pregnancy. In addition, the location of the placenta can be pinpointed  when placenta previa (low implanted placenta ) is suspected. Ultrasound is also used to visualize the baby and placenta when amniocentesis or CVS is being performed. since X-rays are now considered dangerous to developing babies, ultrasound is used


X-Ray Pelvimetry


X-ray pelvimetry measures   the size of the woman's pelvis to determine if the passageway is adequate. It is seldom used except at the end of pregnancy when a breech presentation is suspected and the doctor needs to determine whether a vaginal delivery is possible. X-rays are avoided because they carry the risk of being carcinogenic(cancer producing). 


Estriol Excretion Study 


Estriol is an estrogen-type hormone made be the placenta and excreted in the  woman's blood and urine. The estriol excretion study measure the estrol level and helps  to determine the functioning of the placenta, as well as the  baby's well-being . The test can be conducted using  urine collected over a 24 hour r=period or a single sample of blood. 


Fetal Movement Evaluation


 Around the eighth month of  your pregnancy, your caregiver may suggest that you keep track of your baby's movements. You can do this  best by setting aside a certain time each day ad recording how long it takes your baby to move ten different times . A healthy baby moves about the some amount each day. Report any decrease in movement to your caregiver immediately. Fetal movement evaluation is a momimvasive test that cam provide valuable information about your baby's health and will-being. 


Nonstress test 


A nonstress test can be a very reliable noninvasive test for fetal well-being . It is done by measuring the fetal heart rate in response to fetal activity as observed on a fetal monitor. 


Oxytocin Challenge Test 

The oxytocin challenge test ( OCT) is done in the hospital to help determine how well the baby will undergo the stress of labor. The OCT is also known as stress test. 


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