There are several tests that are done to monitor the baby and avoid complications during pregnancy. These include ultrasound, non-stress tests, biophysical profile (BPP), fetal movement counting, amniocentesis and stress test or oxytocin challenge
The most important concern of any expectant mother is her baby’s health. During pregnancy certain basic investigation such as routine urine examination, ultrasound, blood examination for hemoglobin, blood grouping and typing, for infections such as syphilis are done in all women. These tests are done to ensure overall well being of the mother and the fetus. Women with gestational diabetes need more frequent antenatal checkups as compared to a woman with normal pregnancy especially in the last three months of pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes your doctor may recommend additional tests to assess the condition of the fetus before birth.
Tests that may be done include:
- Ultrasound helps to determine the growth and development of the baby, position of the placenta, amount of amniotic fluid. It can provide an accurate gestational age and due date as well.
- Nonstress test evaluates change of fetal heart rate with fetal movement. If the heart rate fails to increase then the fetus may not be receiving enough oxygen.
- Biophysical profile (BPP): In this both nonstress test and fetal ultrasound are done. The baby's movements, breathing and the amount of amniotic fluid are assessed.
- Fetal movement counting: Your doctor may advise you to count the number of times your baby kicks within a certain time frame. If the movements are less then it may indicate that the baby isn't getting enough oxygen.
- Stress test or oxytocin challenge test: If the non-stress test is abnormal, this test is done to assess if the baby is well. If the baby is not healthy enough to handle the stress of decrease in blood supply and oxygen when the uterus contracts an abnormal heart rate pattern is observed.
- Amniocentesis: In this test a small amount of fluid is taken from the amniotic sac for analysis. It is used to test for genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome, maturity of the lungs in late pregnancy.
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