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9 diagnostic tests in pregnancy to detect abnormalities in the fetus


During pregnancy, the main concern of the future mother is that everything develops normally and your baby is born healthy and strong. To check that there is no abnormality, there are different diagnostic tests or prenatal tests. Some are not invasive, but others carry some risk for the baby and the pregnant woman.

Discover these 9 diagnostic tests in pregnancy to detect abnormalities in the fetus. We tell you what each one of them informs us and how it is done.

From the lung maturation of the baby to the possibilities of having a chromosomal disorder. There are numerous tests that pursue detect any abnormality in the fetus early. In some cases, early diagnosis can help solve the problem.

Here is a list of 9 diagnostic tests in pregnancy that are used to detect any type of abnormality that may affect the baby:

1. Ultrasound. Ultrasound is the most widely used test throughout pregnancy. It works by means of ultrasounds that manage to capture an image of the baby and show determining factors quite reliably, such as the level of amniotic fluid, the length of the femur of the fetus, the formation of its organs, the quality of the placenta ... There are many types of ultrasounds. The most common is in two dimensions (2D ultrasound), although more and more centers are offering parents an ultrasound in three dimensions and even in four dimensions.

For the pregnant woman it is not a problem. It is performed on a stretcher using an ultrasound machine and a little gel that helps the ultrasound waves to better capture the inside of the uterus.

2. The urine culture. It is a urine test that is carried out on the pregnant woman in order to find traces of possible bacteria that are harmful to the baby. It is carried out through the microbiological study of the samples in a laboratory. This test can detect any type of urine infection in the pregnant woman, as well as the presence of any bacteria that must be fought with an antibiotic.

3. Amniocentesis. It is an invasive test to detect diseases in the fetus, some genetic, such as Down syndrome. The test consists of the extraction of some amniotic fluid. To do this, a very long and fine needle is inserted through the pregnant woman's belly. The amniotic fluid has a large amount of material from the baby, such as a sample of skin and hair, which will give valuable information, since from these samples its complete DNA can be extracted. This test will also give the exact information about the sex of the baby.

However, it is a test that poses some danger to the baby and the pregnant woman. In fact, some miscarriages still occur because of this diagnostic test. The pregnant woman must remain in complete rest a few days after the amniocentesis is performed.

4. The O'Sullivan test. This test is not invasive, although it is a bit uncomfortable for the pregnant woman, who must take a glucose preparation and undergo two blood tests (one before drinking the preparation and another after). It is used to measure the mother's blood sugar and determine if there is gestational diabetes. If the result is positive, the pregnant woman must completely change her eating habits, follow a diet guided by her doctor and do more sports.

6. Lung maturation test or quantusFLM test. This is a novel test, still performed in few hospitals but tending to spread rapidly. It is used to measure the degree of maturation of the baby's lungs, to know if he would be ready to be born prematurely. It is very useful in the event that labor has to be induced. It is performed by means of a 2D ultrasound and is analyzed thanks to a software system installed on the computer.

7. Study of fetal DNA in maternal blood. Another novel system to measure possible genetic malformations is the analysis of DNA in the mother's blood. It is carried out in the first trimester, from week 10 of pregnancy, and achieves a very high approximation to determine if the baby suffers from Down syndrome, Patau, Edwars and other chromosomal diseases. In addition, they can find out the sex of the baby exactly. Among its great advantages, which is a simple blood test, nothing invasive or dangerous for the mother and the baby.

8. The triple screening. It is a test that combines blood tests and ultrasound. It is carried out in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is a screening test, that is, it gives us an approximation of the chances that the baby has of having some type of malformation or disease such as Down's Syndrome. Ultrasound measures, for example, the size of the femur and the nuchal fold, which gives an assessment of the risks that exist for the presence of Down syndrome.

9. Doppler ultrasound. This is a color ultrasound, which shows the baby's blood flow. This is very important, for example, to check for a problem with the umbilical cord. It also provides valuable information on blood circulation in the baby's brain and heart. The results help to learn more about fetal growth.

You can read more articles similar to 9 diagnostic tests in pregnancy to detect abnormalities in the fetus, in the category of Stages of pregnancy on site.


Video: Diagnosis of pregnancy. Reproductive system physiology. NCLEX-RN. Khan Academy (January 2022).