Months of wair with a smile on face, new experiences to add at steady pace.. Precious heartbeat,
mom's sunshine, dad's world, safety becomes a common goal..
From the day thy presence, felt so blessed, eager to hold you, the magical elf..
Yet many fears grasp my mind, when thoughts of your health amidst arise..
With every phase you will grow, and at every stage you will be shielded by me, Won't
leave a stone unturned in your care, will protect you ly screening from nasty trails...
Pregnancy initiates a beautiful journey of motherhood. The blessing of the tiny steps builds a
whole new world around. With the revelation of pregnancy, comes a bundle of queries to mothers
especially the ones, expecting the first child. Among all, one of the question, mostly not answered
satisfactorily is how prenatal care is done? While protection of the newborn is the priority for every
mother, importance of testing the health of the fetus in the right trimester of pregnancy is far more
Phases of Trimesters
Pregnancy, also called gestation, is a period of nine months wherein the fetus develops inside the mother's
womb. The development of the baby starts right from its attachment to the uterus lining (implantation)
and continues upto 42 weeks. It is divided into the following phases.
- First trimester: First 14 weeks.
- Second trimester: Starts from 15" week and ends at 28" week.
- Third trimester: From 29 week till the baby is born.
Importance of Antenatal Tests (ANTS)
Antenatal testing is a measure to diagnose and monitor diseases in a fetus as, approximately 3% to 5% of
pregnancies are at risk of bearing a child with birth defect or genetic disorder. The tests focus on fetal
well-being and reassurance that the child is born without any ailment. Uniformly planned testings are done
trimester-wise which are specific to the type and condition of pregnancy in question. Antenatal screening
employed detects the changes in fetal gene or chromosomal abnormalities inherited from parents. A strict
vigilance on prenatal care helps to overcome any complexity during gestation and keep a track of fetal
growth and development.
Aims of Antenatal Tests
Antenatal Tests help to identify people with risks of having a newborn with congenital or hereditary disorders. Aims
of Antenatal Tests can vary according to the type of population or country in focus, however, it commonly emphasizes on
- Screening conditions like infections, chromosomal disorders, malformations or maternal Diabetes, capable
of affecting the fetus.
- Determine normal fetal growth.
- To screen the risks of common recessively inherited diseases.
Different Methods used for Antenatal Tests
Most widely used methods for Antenatal Tests are Biochemical screening (screens Downs syndrome and open
neural tube defects) which tests the maternal blood taken during 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Genetic
screening with fairly high sensitivity and specificity can be carried out either by Chorionic Villus Sampling
(to detect chromosomal disorders in the fetus) or by amniocentesis (to detect certain birth defects) at
8-9 weeks and 14-16 weeks respectively. Ultrasonographic (USG) screenings are also used with the
objective of reducing prenatal morbidity and mortality.
Purpose of Antenatal Tests
- Inform parents about the affected fetus
- Facilitate in utero treatment
- Suggest and counsel parents to terminate a deformed fetus
- Provide details to the parents, to plan the future accordingly
Blood and Urine tests
- Complete Blood Count (CBC test) determines the levels of WBC, RBC and platelets in blood which help
diagnose blood related disorders like anemia in pregnant women.
- Blood typing and antibody screening reveals the ABO blood group and Rh type of a woman.
Difference in Rh type between the mother and fetus may lead to
erythroblastosis fetalis. To illustrate, if mother is Rh negative and father is Rh positive, the fetus may
inherit Rh positive from the father. This results in incompatibility of Rh factor with mother causing a
serious condition called erythroblastosis fetalis or hemolytic disease of the newborn (destruction of
fetal red blood cells). Although, the fetus is not severely affected during first pregnancy but, the antibodies
produced during first instance can affect the subs equent fetus.
- Urine testing can be done in first and third trimester to evaluate the protein and glucose levels,
and detect any kidney related disease or gestational diabetes in mothers.
Screening the levels of thyroid hormones namely thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4), and
Triiodothyronine (T3) becomes essential in pregnant women with known thyroid conditions. Abnormal
levels of these hormones may lead to increased abortion rate, premature labor, stillbirth, neonatal death
or maternal congestive cardiac failure.
It includes parameters to detect infections like Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegallovirus (CMV), and
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), which can cause illness, and anomalies in newborns. These tests check
the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system of the mother against the TORCH group
It is recommended for pregnant women who are at higher risks of contracting Human Papillomavirus
(HPV) to stop its vertical transmission to fetus. HPV infection may cause skin and genital warts in
fetus during pregnancy.
Multiple Marker Screening
Multiple Marker screening measures the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin
(hCG), unconjugated estriol and inhibin A hormones present in the mother's blood. Levels of these
substances helps to determine neural tube defects and Down syndrome.
Cell-free fetal DNA Testing (cffDNA)
Cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) is found in mother's blood and is used to identify chromosomal disorders
like Down Syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome (extra X and Y
chromosome) in the fetus.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Testing
This test is performed in third trimester to diagnoses Group B Streptococcus (Streptococcus agalactiae)
colonization in maternal genital tract. Presence of the bacteria can cause pneumonia, hearing or vision loss
if inhaled or ingested by fetus during delivery.
Overall, increased hygienic awareness, improvement in healthcare and medical facilities may reduce maternal
and fetal morbidity and mortality rate to a great extent. Various vaccines recommended against different
ailments aims at maintaining good health of the mother and fetus. Continuous development in the clinical
field has made us answer complex problems faced during pregnancy with antenatal testings for diagnosis
of challenging genetic disorders.
Thyrocare offers TORCH profile for diagnosis of Cytomegalo virus, Herpes simplex virus, Rubella and
Toxoplasma gondii infections by E.L.I.S.A and Multiple Marker Screening to access the risk of fetal genetic
disorders by C.L.I.A at highly affordable rates.
A responsible mother foster her baby's health by timely antenatal testing...