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Prenatal Exams, Tests, and Procedures

Rerun image During your pregnancy, you will experience a variety of exams, tests, and procedures. Some of the tests are routine for all pregnant women. Others are optional or may be recommended by your healthcare provider in certain situations or if there are complications.

You should keep all appointments with your healthcare provider so that problems can be detected as soon as possible. If any problems or potential problems are identified, your healthcare provider can plan for your care as necessary. During each visit, you will be asked about any symptoms or problems you may be having, particularly:

What Will My Healthcare Provider Look for During Prenatal Exams?

Your healthcare provider will look for and ask about signs and symptoms at the various stages of pregnancy including:

What Routine Tests and Procedures Can I Expect to Have?

You will probably have the following routine tests and procedures:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a vaginal/rectal culture for Group B streptococcus (at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy) to prevent infection of the baby during labor and delivery.

Women with certain medical conditions have a higher risk of having problems during pregnancy and may need additional regular prenatal testing like ultrasounds. Examples include women with high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, multiple pregnancies (2 or more fetuses), too much or too little amniotic fluid, or post-term pregnancy.

What Additional Tests Might Be Ordered?

Additional tests may be done if your healthcare provider thinks they are medically necessary. It may be done if your baby has a high risk of certain genetic issues or if you have had some complications in your pregnancy. Examples of additional tests include:

What Tests Are Given to Women With High Risk Factors?

If you have high risk factors for pregnancy complications, you may have additional tests and procedures. Examples include:

RESOURCES:

March of Dimes
http://www.marchofdimes.org

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
https://sogc.org

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

REFERENCES:

ACOG Committee on Genetics. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 442: Preconception and prenatal carrier screening for genetic diseases in individuals of Eastern European Jewish descent. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114(4):950-953. Reaffirmed 2014.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 101: Ultrasonography in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2009 ;113(2 Pt 1):451-461. Reaffirmed 2014.

Committee Opinion No. 640: Cell-free DNA screening for fetal aneuploidy. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(3):e31-e37.

Fetal fibronectin. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/fetal-fibronectin.aspx. Updated October 2012. Accessed October 26, 2016.

First trimester screen. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/prenatal-testing/first-trimester-screen. Updated September 2, 2016. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Group B strep (BGS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/about/prevention.html. Updated May 23, 2016. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Prenatal care. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/prenatal-care.aspx. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Prenatal care and tests. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/prenatal-care-tests.html. Updated September 27, 2010. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Routine prenatal care. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114252/Routine-prenatal-care. Updated June 22, 2016. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Last reviewed October 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 10/26/2016