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Health & Pregnancy

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Pregnancy - Topic Overview

What kinds of exams and tests will you have?

Your first prenatal exam gives your doctor or midwife important information for planning your care. You'll have a pelvic exam and urine and blood tests. You'll also have your blood pressure and weight checked. The urine and blood tests are used for a pregnancy test and to tell whether you have low iron levels (are anemic) or have signs of infection.

At each prenatal visit you'll be weighed, have your belly measured, and have your blood pressure and urine checked. Go to all your appointments. Although these quick office visits may seem simple and routine, your doctor is watching for signs of possible problems like high blood pressure.

In some medical centers, you can have screening in your first trimester to see if your baby has a chance of having Down syndrome or another genetic problem. The test usually includes a blood test and an ultrasound.

During your second trimester, you can have a blood test (triple or quadruple screen test) to see if you have a higher-than-normal chance of having a baby with birth defects. Based on the results of the tests, you may be referred to a geneticist for further discussion. Or you may have other tests to find out for sure if your baby has a birth defect.

Late in your second trimester, your blood sugar will be checked for diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes). Near the end of your pregnancy, you will have tests to look for infections that could harm your newborn.

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