Here’s a useful guide to prenatal testing during pregnancy for first-time moms-to-be.
When it comes to the health and well-being of our unborn children, it’s safe to say that as mother’s we would give our lives for our children and would do absolutely anything within our power to help ensure that our children and unborn children are as fit, healthy, and well looked after as we possibly can. Pregnancy is a wild ride that lasts for an average of 9 months, and during that time there will almost certainly be a fair few ups and downs.
To help us get a better understanding about what is actually going on with the health of our unborn children however, more and more of us are using prenatal testing to keep tabs on the health and development of our unborn children. Here we’ll be taking a look at prenatal testing ─ covering what exactly prenatal testing is, what it entails, the risks and benefits both for you and your baby.
So, what is prenatal testing?
Prenatal testing is basically a form of testing designed to provide vital information about the health, well-being, and development of unborn children. Other routine tests will also monitor the health of the expecting mother, too.
What are the common tests you can expect?
Some of the more routine prenatal tests will require a healthcare specialist to test for a variety of different things, which include:
- Problems with your blood
- Signs of potential infection
- Whether or not you happen to be immune to ailments such as chickenpox, or German measles (Rubella).
- Screenings for Down syndrome
- HIV screenings
- Signs of gestational diabetes
There are other tests which can also be provided, but whether or not the specialist recommends them or not will be based upon things such as: your age, your medical history, your family health history, results based upon routine tests, your overall health and fitness, as well as your ethnic background. Some of these tests will be screening tests to help detect potential problems with your baby, and based upon these results, the doctor may suggest certain diagnostic tests to rule out or determine any potential health problems in your child.
What are the benefits?
There are numerous benefits associated with prenatal testing, some of the more common benefits include:
Spotting potential problems in your child early – These tests will help to discover possible birth defects, abnormalities, or other health conditions and if potential problems are discovered, experts will be able to advise on what to do next.
Spotting possible health problems with you – Prenatal testing will also help to discover just how fit and healthy you are during pregnancy, and if any problems are discovered, a low iron count for example, iron supplements or medicines could then be recommended to help resolve the issue.
What are the risks?
As with pretty much all things in life, there are also certain risks involved with prenatal testing. The risks are extremely minimal as far as physical problems are concerned, and the real threat is down to the psychological implications. These include, but are not limited to:
- A very minimal risk of losing the child
- A minimal risk of infection
- Anxiety in case any problems are discovered
- Possible feelings of guilt if a problem is discovered
- Tension within the family