Blood type and RH testing: Your blood type will be tested during your first trimester. If you have Rh-negative blood, and the baby’s father has Rh-positive blood (or unknown type) your doctor may prescribe an Rho(D) immune globulin injection for you called RhoGAM. This injection can prevent a disease called Rh-induced hemolytic disease which can harm the fetus you’re carrying and any other fetus you may conceive. It occurs when your Rh factor is incompatible with your baby’s, causing your body’s immune system to view the fetus’s blood cells as harmful invaders and build antibodies to attack them. The disease’s effects on a fetus or newborn can be mild or serious, ranging from mild anemia and jaundice to mental retardation and death.
Complete Blood Count (CBC): A complete blood count test identifies the numbers of different types of cells that make up your blood. The number of red blood cells can show whether you have a certain type of anemia, and the number of white blood cells shows how many disease-fighting cells are in your blood. The number of platelets can reveal whether you have a problem with blood clotting.
Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea: All pregnant women are tested for syphilis and chlamydia early in pregnancy. Syphilis and chlamydia can cause complications for you and can cause severe problems for your baby. If you have either of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you will be treated immediately with antibiotics and then retested to make sure the infection has been cleared. If you have certain risk factors, you will also be tested for gonorrhea, and treated with antibiotics if you have been infected.
Rubella: Rubella (sometimes called German measles) can cause birth defects if a woman is infected during pregnancy. Your blood will be tested to check whether you have had a past infection with rubella or if you have already been vaccinated against this disease. Rubella is very rare in the United States, so your chances of infection are very low, but infection could be devastating for your baby’s health, so it is important to know your immunization status and to take proper precautions if you are not already immune.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a highly contagious virus that affects the liver. Some people are carriers without knowing, so a blood test during your first prenatal visit will determine your status. If you are a carrier or have an active infection, you can pass the virus to your baby at birth. If you test positive for hepatitis B, your baby will be treated with HBV antibodies, and the HBV vaccine within the first 12 hours of birth which will protect him from becoming infected.
HIV: If a pregnant woman is infected with HIV, there is a chance she can pass the virus to her baby. HIV attacks cells of the body’s immune system and causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). If you are pregnant and infected with HIV, you can be given medication and take other steps that can greatly reduce the risk of passing it to your baby.
Cystic Fibrosis: Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects a person’s lungs and digestive processes. It can severely affect a person’s health and greatly shortens the lifespan of individuals with the disorder. CF is a genetic disease and requires both parents to be carriers of the CF gene in order for their baby to be affected. If both parents are carriers, there is a 1 in 4 chance your baby will be born with the disease.
1st Serum Integrated Test: The Serum Integrated Test helps determine the risk of having a pregnancy affected by Down syndrome and Open Neural Tube Defects (ONTD). The test is performed in two stages. The first stage can be performed between 11 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days. In the first test, an ultrasound scan is used to precisely determine the gestational age of the pregnancy (to ensure that testing is being performed at the proper time.) A blood sample is taken to measure the level of pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A). The second test is needed to draw any conclusions, but will not be performed until 15-22 weeks if the first test was positive.