Tests during pregnancy are done to assess the well-being of both the pregnant mother and the baby in the womb. Any problem found in the developing foetus or the bearing mother can be detected at an early stage. Immediate, proper treatment can ensure delivery of a healthy baby by a healthy mother.Several routine tests are taken at each of the antenatal visits, and special screening tests are done at specific weeks in both first and second trimesters. Antenatal checkups are generally advised once every month up to 6 months of pregnancy, once every 15 days in the 7th and 8th month and once every week from the 9th month. Let us go further to see what are the tests performed in a pregnant women right from the day of conception up to the day she delivers her baby.
Tests to confirm pregnancy
Once you suspect you may be pregnant, the first tests performed are to confirm your pregnancy. Pregnancy is diagnosed early by detecting the presence of a hormone named Human chorionic gonadotrophin [HCG] which is secreted during pregnancy. This hormone is secreted soon after the fertilized ovum gets implanted in the uterine lining, which is about 6- 12 days after the ovum is fertilized and it can be detected in your blood or urine sample.
Home pregnancy test kits are available that can be used on a sample of urine to find if a woman is pregnant. You can take a home pregnancy test soon after you have missed a period or 2 weeks after a possible conception (conception occurs within 12 -24 hours after you ovulate). If a positive result is obtained, you can go to an obstetrician who can confirm your positive home test result by performing a blood test and internal examination.
However, highly sensitive urine tests can detect pregnancy as early as 6 to 8 days after conception. Sensitivity of test kits depend on how soon they are able to pick up the level of HCG hormone. For home pregnancy tests to be more accurate, irrespective of the sensitivity of test kits, it must be performed after the pregnancy hormone HCG rises to a level detectable in urine, which is generally between 4th and 5th week of pregnancy. And also, following the illustrations and instructions on the test kit carefully and reading the result on time, will help you to get an accurate result.
Blood tests are of two types- Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative test can measure even low levels of HCG found in the pregnant woman and can confirm pregnancy earlier than urine tests. Qualitative test does not measure the exact amount of HCG formed, but can say if you are pregnant or not, just like a urine test.
However performing urine test is easier and can be done at home, while blood test can be done only at a clinic with the help of a doctor. You can go for high sensitive urine test kits or quantitative blood test if you are very eager to know the result earlier.