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Pregnant women are all too familiar with getting poked and prodded with a battery of tests. During your first prenatal visit alone, you’ll likely get a blood test, urine culture, physical exam, Pap test and possibly an ultrasound.
Prenatal tests have an important purpose. They can help you find out whether your growing baby has, or is at increased risk for, certain genetic and chromosomal conditions or birth defects. Sometimes conditions are passed from parent to child, and sometimes they happen on their own.
Some conditions prenatal tests can check for include:
The whole process can be nerve wracking. Before you get a prenatal test, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks. Then, think about how you would use the results. There are advantages to knowing about your baby’s health ahead of time. It can give you time to plan for any special medical care she may need after she is born.
Throughout your pregnancy, there are two types of prenatal tests you may get:
Your OB-GYN may recommend certain prenatal tests if you’re older than 35, if certain genetic conditions run in your family, or if your baby is at increased risk for birth defects or a chromosome disorder.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says prenatal testing should be discussed as early as possible in pregnancy, ideally at the first obstetric visit, so that first trimester options are available.
Examples of prenatal tests you may get during pregnancy include:
Talk to your OB-GYN about which prenatal tests are right for you.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers expert Maternal Fetal Medicine services by physicians experienced in handling the most complicated cases for expectant mothers and newborns, including rare and complex conditions. Learn more about our care for high-risk pregnancies.
Our genetic counselors can help you identify if you are at increased risk of passing genetic abnormalities on to your child, and what options you have.
Learn more about pregnancy and baby services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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