The information below is meant to give you a general idea of the various tests and procedures associated with pregnancy. Your NCMA Women’s OB/GYN Center provider will happily give you more detailed explanations at your appointments.
When you think you might be pregnant, a simple urine pregnancy test may be performed at home or in our office. At your appointment with your provider, a urine pregnancy test will be given in order to confirm pregnancy even if a home test has shown a positive result.
These tests are generally ordered as a part of your obstetrical history appointment between 8–10 weeks of pregnancy, and completed prior to your obstetrical physical appointment between 10–12 weeks. These tests help your provider determine maternal health and blood status. Blood tests are performed at a laboratory in a nearby hospital and results are sent back to our office within a few days.
Prenatal blood tests include:
Urinalysis and urine cultures are performed in office at your appointment between 10–12 weeks of pregnancy in order to screen for bacterial infection in the bladder.
Between 11–13 months pregnant, your provider will talk to you about an optional first trimester screening which will help your provider identify risks for some chromosomal abnormalities such as down syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18.
At 16–18 weeks pregnant, you may talk to your provider about this optional blood screen to test for down syndrome, trisome 13, and trisomy 18. An alpha-fetoprotein screening may also be ordered to screen for neural tube defect. Tests are performed in a laboratory at a nearby hospital and results are generally received within a few days.
Your first ultrasound may be performed between as early as 6-10 weeks of pregnancy. If no extra risk is expected, your anatomy scan ultrasound will be performed between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider will use the ultrasound to assess fetal anatomy and take measurements, and you will be able to observe the entire scan on a computer monitor.
Between 26–28 weeks of pregnancy, your provider will order a blood test to screen for diabetes in the pregnancy. At the test, you will be given a sweet drink containing sugar, and your blood will be drawn one and two hours later to test for blood sugar levels. No fasting is required for this test.
Nearing the end of your pregnancy, between 35–37 weeks, your provider will perform a vaginal culture to test for Group B Strep bacteria, which is relatively innocuous to adults but can cause infections in babies during birth. If the bacteria is present, treatment may be administered when you go into labor to protect your baby from infection. The culture will be sent to a lab for evaluation at a nearby hospital and returned back to us within a few days.
At 38 weeks pregnant, your provider will begin performing weekly internal exams in office to check for cervical dilation.
This test is performed if labor has not occurred after 40 weeks (full term) or when otherwise indicated to determine fetal well-being and to test for contractions. During this test, your provider will attach a small, external device to your abdomen with an elastic band that can monitor the fetus. Your provider and an ultrasonographer will evaluate your results the same day of the test.
An ultrasound is used to perform this test if labor has not occurred after 40 weeks (full term) or when otherwise indicated to test for fetal breathing and heartbeat. Your provider and an ultrasonographer will evaluate your results the same day of the test.