Prenatal care is essential to a healthy pregnancy.From the minute that you discover you are pregnant, it is important to stay on top of your prenatal care. This includes attending all of your scheduled appointments and any tests requested by your healthcare provider. You also need to be completely honest with your healthcare provider. Not telling your healthcare provider something during pregnancy may lead to complications that might otherwise be avoided. If you aren’t completely honest with your healthcarae provider, he or she may be unable to help you deal with problems that could arise as a result.
It is a routine part of prenatal care that women are checked for infections. Some infections have the potential for poor outcomes for both the women and her fetus/newborn. Some of the common infections that are checked are:
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Screening for syphilis is done at the first prenatal visit by a blood test. Having the infection in pregnancy can cause congenital syphilis. Some women should have a repeat test in the third trimester, these women include women with new or multiple sexual partners and women diagnosed with other sexually transmitted infections.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis
Gonorrhea and Chlyamydia trachomatis are two different sexually transmitted infections, but are tested and treated together. This is because the infections often are together. Women in the first trimester are tested. This is done through a pelvic exam or it can be done with a urine test. In women that have tested positive, and/or have been diagnosed with other sexual transmitted infection should be tested again in the third trimester.
Blood type, Rhesus type (Rh) and antibody screen
One major concern in hemolytic disease of the newborn. This is a disease that baby’s will get if their blood is incompatible with the mothers. This happens when the mother’s blood type is Rh negative and the baby’s blood type is Rh positive. When the mother is exposed to the baby’s blood, which can occur in pregnancy she then develops antibodies. The next time she has a baby with Rh positive blood, the antibodies will attack the baby causing hemolytic disease. It is important to test for this because this disease is preventable. To prevent this disease, mothers are given an injection of Rhogam.
Hematocrit and Hemoglobin are blood test that measure the blood levels, low blood levels indicate that there is anemia which can affect the women and the pregnancy.
Cervical cytology cancer screening or PAP test
Having a routine PAP test for screening for abnormal cell and cervical cancer is routinely done at the beginning of pregnancy. Management for abnormal tests is different in pregnant women and early screening is essential.
Watch the video for a demonstration of a PAP test and pelvic examination:
Rubella is also known as the German Measles A blood test for rubella immunity will help determine if you have enough immunity to prevent catching this disease and passing it to your fetus or baby. If you pass this disease onto your fetus while pregnant the baby can have congenital rubella syndrome and end up with many different medical problems such as cataracts at birth, hearing loss, birth defects, heart defects and can result in miscarriage or fetal death.
Varicella or chickenpox immunity
Varicella is also known as chickenpox. Women who do not have varicella immunity are at risk for developing this disease in pregnancy and should avoid any potential exposures. Having the chicken pox in pregnancy can go to the baby causing congenital defects and damage to the brain.
Hepatitis B antigen testing
Testing for Hepatitis B is recommended to prevent the transmission of Hepatitis B to the fetus.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
HIV testing is recommended for all women in the first trimester, so that timely management of the pregnancy can occur. HIV transmission to the fetus/infant can be reduced greatly when women take appropriate measures.
How to preserve the cord blood.