Routine examinations and tests
At each prenatal visit, you can expect to be weighed and have your urine and blood pressure checked. Your health professional will monitor your fetus's growth and position by measuring the size of your uterus (fundal height) and gently pressing (palpating) your abdomen. Up to the 36th week of pregnancy, your fetus can regularly change position, varying from head down (vertex lie) to feet down (breech lie) or even sideways (transverse lie).
During your second trimester, expect the following routine tests:
- Glucose tolerance test (GTT), usually between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, monitors for gestational diabetes.
- Complete blood count (CBC), which includes hemoglobin and hematocrit to make sure you don't have iron deficiency anemia.
Your health professional may also recommend:
- A fetal ultrasound in the second trimester before 20 weeks. An early ultrasound is commonly used to accurately date a pregnancy and identify fetal problems.
- Electronic fetal heart monitoring (non-stress) any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy to monitor how your fetus is doing.
Pregnant women and their partners can choose whether to have tests for birth defects. It can be a hard and emotional choice. You need to think about what the results of a test would mean to you and how they might affect your choices about your pregnancy. You and your health professional can choose from several tests. What you choose depends on your wishes, where you are in your pregnancy, your family health history, and what tests are available in your area. You may have no tests, one test, or several tests.
Second-trimester tests for birth defects can be done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. The triple or quad screening checks the amounts of three or four substances in a pregnant woman's blood. They can also be done as part of an integrated screening test. Amniocentesis may also be done to find certain birth defects.
Depression is common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. If you have symptoms of depression during pregnancy or are depressed and learn that you are pregnant, make a treatment plan with your health professional right away. Not treating depression can cause problems during pregnancy and birth. To find out if you are depressed, your health professional will ask you questions about your health and your feelings.
Current as of: May 29, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology