Welcome to the second trimester of the pregnancy. This phase will be all about “The baby is kicking!” excitement. But not just that, it is also when you are more comfortable with your pregnancy. You may also find yourself getting cosy with the second trimester scans and tests.
This week on LadiesAndBabies, we will discuss everything you need to know about the second trimester screening test.
Key Second Trimester Scans and Tests
As you enter the mid-trimester, the need for monitoring your baby’s health becomes all the more essential. You may expect to undergo specific evaluations for the same. The second trimester screening test will assist you in further caring for yourself and your baby. Given below are the specified inspection that your obstetrician will suggest:
Multiple Marker Tests
This test is also commonly called the AFP test or the Triple Screen Test. It is a blood test in which the mother’s blood is tested for three kinds of substances. These include:
- AFP – AFP is a type of protein that is produced by the fetal liver. AFP protein can be found in amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the fetus).
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) – hCG is a form of hormone generated by the placenta.
- Estriol – This is an estrogen hormone produced by both the mother and the fetus.
If the levels of these substances are found abnormal, the healthcare provider will take measures to protect the health of the baby. Ailments like Down syndrome, Spina bifida and more can be detected with the help of this test.
You may have numerous ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy. The second trimester screening test or Level 2 ultrasound helps in gaining crucial information. For instance, it can confirm the due date, see the anatomy of the fetus, determine blood flow patterns and monitor growth, among other things.
In this test, the amniotic fluid around the fetus is checked for any type of genetic abnormalities and other chromosomal disorders. It is one of the uncommon second trimester scans and tests but is highly reliable.
Pregnant women are checked for glucose levels in mid-trimester to find the possibility of gestational diabetes. The doctor will first take a blood test. As the next step, you will be asked to consume a sugary drink. Post which the healthcare provider will draw a sample of your blood to check the glucose levels. These blood samples (before and after consumption of the drink) will be compared to draw results. This second trimester screening test is also known as a glucose tolerance test.
Check out the article #LadiesAndBabies: Second Trimester of Pregnancy – Weeks 13 to 28 to know what happens to you and your baby during the second trimester.
Additional Second Trimester Scans and Tests
Apart from the particular tests mentioned above, you will most likely have basic health checkups. Some of these checkups may be performed every time you visit the doctor. Here is a list of additional, yet mandatory second trimester test:
Physical assessment: A full body exam in which the practitioner checks you for weight gain, blood pressure and pap smear.
Fundal height: The height of your uterus is measured by calculating the height from the top of your pelvic bone to the top of your uterus. Fundal height is used to identify the length of the pregnancy.
Fetal heartbeat: This test is done using a doppler ultrasound. The doctor checks the rate of the heartbeat of the fetus.
Oedema: It is very common for women to experience swelling in legs or ankles during pregnancy. This test is performed to examine any unusual swelling in your body.
Urine Tests: You will be asked to give a urine sample so that the doctor can inspect for signs of infection and sugar levels.
Blood tests: A blood test during pregnancy second trimester helps in measuring platelet count, check sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or bacterial vaginosis.
Second Trimester Screening Test: Things To Note
Mid-trimester may offer various tests but the more the merrier. These tests will not only help in tracking your pregnancy but, also managing complications that may arise.
When is it done? – The chief tests can be done between weeks 15 – 22.
Is there a risk? – No, second trimester scans and tests are safe for you and your baby.
How do I prepare? – You may not require any extra preparations. Talk to your doctor to know more.
Do these tests hurt? – Not majorly, blood test during pregnancy second trimester may hurt only a little, as a needle will be inserted into your vein.
What to expect after the tests? – You will be asked to wait for the reports for proceedings.
Your excitement will be remarkably up as you will get to know more about your baby, with the help of the second trimester scans and tests. The doctor will guide you about the further course of pregnancy. During the second trimester, if you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately-
- vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid from the vagina
- persistent headaches and vomiting
- blurring of vision
- abdominal pain and fever
- pain or burning sensation during urination
- swelling or pain in one lower extremity
Also, read about Important Pregnancy Screening Tests You Cannot Miss