First-Trimester Prenatal Screening Tests

Prenatal Screening Tests You Should Take During the First-Trimester

Screening tests for the first trimester combine fetal ultrasound and maternal blood tests. Common tests include:

  • Fetal neck fold (NT) ultrasound, fetal neck test to determine whether there is thickening or increased fluid.
  • Pregnancy Protein Screening (PAPP-A), one of two blood tests, tests for placenta protein in the first trimester. Abnormal levels may indicate a chromosomal abnormality.
  • The HCG blood test investigates placental hormones for chromosomal problems.


These studies may indicate trisomy 21 or 18, which may indicate Down’s syndrome or other congenital abnormalities. Parents who are aware of abnormalities at this stage are often accompanied to genetic counseling.

The first tests are also used to check the expiration dates and determine any other problems on the horizon.

First Ultrasound

There is a lot of experience that you go through whenever you are expecting your first child, and many parents don’t know what to expect from their very first pregnancy.

Baby, Fetus, Gender. These are words that we associate with ultrasound, and although an ultrasound can be used to examine these things, there are many other purposes and applications for these tests. They can be used to examine different pain source, deep heat under the skin, physical therapy in obstetrics (fetal development, etc.), Medication delivery. But, in most cases, they are used to check and follow the fetal development.


Urine Test

Depending on the reason(s) for your doctor wanting to have you complete a 24-hour urine test, he or she is usually checking for a few certain markers. Of course, some are ordered just to check the amount of urine your body produces in a 24 hour period. However, there are usually certain key elements in the urine that will be tested. Some of these include indican, calcium, vitamin C, calcium oxalate, and NPN urochrome.

Early Blood Tests

An early pregnancy test is mainly done to determine if a woman is pregnant or not. And that can be determined in different ways. We start with a simple test kit for home, for which a wide variety of different pregnancy test kits are available on the market. A trip to the local pharmacy would determine that. The effectiveness of a home test kit is subject to certain conditions, and it is necessary to follow the instructions in this manual with the utmost attention to accurate results.

Chorionic Villus Sampling

Chorionic villus sampling more commonly called CVS is a medical procedure for pregnant women. It is done to detect possible defects and abnormalities in the fetus by getting a biopsy or tissue sample found in the placenta that would give an accurate picture of its status.

Chronic villis sampling draws a biopsy from the placenta to read its chorionic villi content. The chorionic villus is a genetic material that can depict or give hints about the whole condition of the fetus. There are a lot of factors why it is needed to be done like one of the parents has a genetic condition that can be passed down to a child and or the pregnant woman is at her 35 and over. Pregnancy in middle age women contributes to potential congenital disabilities or anomalies that can be detected easily in the fetal chromosomes.

Free DNA Screening

A new screening test was done at 10 weeks of pregnancy called “cell-free fetal DNA testing,” uses the mother’s blood to detect Down Syndrome. This has stirred controversy regarding how we treat fetuses affected with Down Syndrome and other forms of mental retardation. New non-invasive blood tests can locate fetal blood cells in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream much earlier, with a lower risk of false positives.

Medical science performs genetic screening and testing for the purpose of prevention and effective management of defects and diseases. Sometimes it is possible to curtail a condition before birth. Reducing full biopsies to one single blood test lowers costs tests. Testing for BRCA1 & 2 genes facilitates early warning of breast cancer. Heredity is a gamble today. Perhaps screening will reduce these risks in the future.

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