Prenatal testing includes a range of procedures and screenings to learn more about fetal health during pregnancy. It can help monitor high-risk pregnancies and diagnose fetal conditions.
At Dignity Health North State, our maternity care team includes neonatologists and neonatal nurses, as well as respiratory therapists, dietitians, and social workers, to help keep your little one healthy and growing. Our NICU staff is ready if something happens after birth and is trained to care for babies delivered as early as 24 weeks. Visit our Pregnancy Clinic at Mercy Medical Center Redding or Find a Doctor in Northern California with expertise in prenatal testing today.
When Do Doctors Recommend Prenatal Testing?
Prenatal tests help you and your doctor learn about your baby’s health, growth, and development. The results can help you manage your pregnancy and decide on the best environment for labor and delivery. Your doctor may recommend prenatal testing to:
- Assess the baby’s health
- Look for birth defects
- Check growth and development
Common Prenatal Screening Tests Performed at Dignity Health North State
Prenatal tests can be screening tests or diagnostic. Diagnostic tests can tell if your baby has a certain condition. Screening tests are less precise and can only tell you if your baby might have a particular condition.
Common prenatal tests include:
- Early ultrasound to confirm pregnancy, determine your due date, and check for multiple gestations, such as twins or triplets.
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), to screen for genetic diseases and certain birth defects.
- First trimester screening, which is used to determine the likelihood of chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome.
- Blood tests to determine your Rh factor and check for anemia and infections that can cause problems for the baby.
- Amniocentesis, a diagnostic test that is used to identify certain diseases before birth. During the third trimester, it can be used to check lung development.
- Biophysical profile, a two-part test performed in the third trimester of pregnancy to determine the baby’s well-being.
What to Expect During Prenatal Testing
Your doctor will tell you which prenatal tests are recommended for you and your baby. He or she will let you know how the test is performed and what it will measure.
You may want to ask your doctor:
- Why are you recommending this test?
- What knowledge will we get as a result of this test?
- How will that information change the management of my pregnancy and birth?
- What risks are associated with this test?
- Are there any alternatives to this test that I should consider?
Your recovery from prenatal testing depends on which tests are performed. Results are usually ready within a week.
It’s important for you to understand that prenatal testing is up to you. It’s a chance to learn more about your pregnancy and baby, but it isn’t right for everyone. Talk honestly with your doctor about which tests you would like performed.
Dignity Health North State offers a wide range of prenatal testing options in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.