The first panel of prenatal tests (we call it our B-1 panel) consists
of some or all of the following tests:
- Blood count to determine anemia
- Blood type and Rh factor determination
- Antibody screening for incompatibilities
- Testing for exposure to syphilis (required), gonorrhea and chlamydia
- Screening for diabetes and also for kidney, liver and electrolyte disorders
- Screening for thyroid disorder
- Immunity status for German measles (Rubella) and Chicken Pox (VZV)
- Hepatitis B screening (*see below)
- HIV Test
- Genetic Screening tests – (optional) includes Cystic Fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, Sickle-cell anemia and others.
- Routine urinalysis and urine culture to look for infection
- Possible other tests specific to your medical history
*Hepatitis B, also known as serum hepatitis, can be present in an individual in a chronic carrier state. This means that although the person carrying the Hepatitis B virus may have no symptoms, she can transmit it to her unborn child (transmission occurs at delivery), can transmit it to her partner through sexual relations, and her blood can potentially transmit the disease to anyone exposed who isn’t immune.
ALL pregnant women are tested for this condition early in pregnancy. More than 1 million Americans are chronic carriers of Hepatitis B. All blood donors are also tested for this, so exposure will not occur from a blood transfusion. A vaccine exists, and currently nearly all newborns receive it. Sexual partners of an individual known to be a Hepatitis B carrier must be tested, and if they test negative, they should be vaccinated.
Chicken Pox Immunity
Chicken Pox is caused by a virus called Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV). If someone has ever had chicken pox, or if they have been vaccinated against it, they develop a blood antibody to VZV. This means that you are forever immune and cannot get chicken pox. (Shingles, a painful blistering skin condition is a rare exception to this).
Even if you are exposed to chicken pox while pregnant, neither you nor your unborn baby is at risk, if you are already immune to VZV. There is a simple blood test we can do to test for this immunity.
Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
NIPT : non-invasive prenatal testing. This optional test checks for fetal DNA in the mother’s blood and can help detect possible Trisomy 13, 18 and 21, fetal gender and other genetic conditions. This test can be done starting at 10 weeks gestational age.
Nuchal Translucency Test
The Nuchal Translucency test (NT test) is an optional test. It is a combination fetal ultrasound and maternal blood test done at about 12 weeks gestational age. It can help identify possible birth defects such as Down Syndrome or congenital heart disease. If the NIPT test is done (see below), we might advise doing the ultrasound portion of the NT test but not the blood test portion.
Alpha-fetoprotein (afp) testing – quadruple marker testing
The afp test (alphafetoprotein test) is an optional test that is done about 16 weeks gestational age. It can help identify possible birth defects such as Down Syndrome or spina bifida (neural tube defect).
The final panel of routine blood tests (we call it the B-2) is done
about the 7th month. It will include the following:
- Repeat blood count
- Repeat antibody screen (if you are Rh negative)
- Screening for diabetes -- the glucola test. The glucola screen for diabetes requires that you drink a solution of 50 grams of glucose (called glucola) one hour before the blood is drawn. This test does not need to be done fasting; it can be done at any time of day