An amniocentesis is a procedure in which the doctor puts a needle through the mother’s abdomen to remove a small amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. An ultrasound machine is used to determine the best spot to insert the needle. The fluid is then sent to the laboratory for testing. For women at risk, an amniocentesis is done during the second trimester to test for some genetic diseases in the baby. It may be done during the third trimester to test for lung maturity of the baby.
A biophysical profile is a special ultrasound that is done to check your baby’s movements, breathing and amount of amniotic fluid (bag of water) surrounding your baby.
Cell-Free DNA Screening
This is a blood test done after 9 weeks of pregnancy. Small pieces of genetic material (DNA) from the pregnancy are in a mother’s blood and are tested to check if a baby is at higher risk for Down syndrome and other genetic chromosomal conditions. This is a screening test and does not give a definite answer. Further testing may be done if cell‐free DNA screening indicates a pregnancy is at high risk.
Chorionic villus sampling
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test that diagnoses chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and other genetic disorders. Your doctor takes cells (called the chorionic villi) from your placenta and sends them to the lab for genetic analysis.
A fetal echocardiography is a special ultrasound of your baby’s heart. The heart doctors or cardiologists from Nationwide Children’s Hospital can do this test. It is a test to check for some heart defects in your baby.
Fetal kick counts
Fetal kick counts are an important way to check on your baby’s health. Around the seventh month of your pregnancy, you may be asked to count the number of times you feel your baby move in one hour. You should feel at least 8-10 movements an hour. If there is a decrease in your baby’s movements, you need to let your doctor or nurse know immediately. Additional tests may be run that include a non-stress test or biophysical profile.
Glucose Challenge Test
At 6-7 months, a glucose challenge test is ordered. During pregnancy, your body must make more insulin to take care of the food you eat. If your body does not make enough insulin, the sugar level in your blood will rise. To do this test, you will be given a sweet soda to drink. You will be asked to not eat or drink anything for one hour after you drink the soda (which includes not chewing gum or smoking cigarettes). The nurse will check your blood sugar level by pricking your finger one hour after you drink the soda. If your blood sugar is high, you will be scheduled for more testing.
A non-stress test records your baby’s heart rate on a special machine called a fetal monitor. You may be asked to push a button each time your baby moves. The test is painless and usually lasts 30-45 minutes.
A quad screen is usually done at 4-5 months and is sometimes called an AFP test. A blood sample will be taken and tests will be run on that sample. The test tells your team whether the baby is at risk for some birth defects of the brain, the spinal cord or the chromosomes such as Down syndrome. An abnormal test does not mean that your baby has the defect – it does mean that more tests may be ordered to check for problems.
Ultrasounds may be performed at different times throughout your pregnancy to look at your developing baby. The ultrasound machines are safe and use sound waves to outline and photograph. You will lie on your back and a movable probe is gently glided over your abdomen by a doctor or technician. The test is painless and identifies the position of the baby/babies, and shows the outline of the baby’s organs.