All about the right pregnancy tests at the right time

Pregnancy is a beautiful experience. It’s rather a supreme feeling for a woman as she creates life within herself. Every pregnancy is different and so are the emotions attached to it. A lucky few go through smooth and comfortable pregnancy while others face a plethora of symptoms—fatigue, nausea, vomiting, swollen breasts, mood swings, constipation and many others.

When I think back to the moment I first found out I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed and excited. This excitement was short-lived and anxiety crept in with so many unanswered questions “how do I assure my baby is normal, when do I get my scans done? will a blood test help me confirm my baby’s health and how frequently do I need to monitor them”.

The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI)enlists the basic minimum care required for a normal healthy pregnant lady. These recommendations are based on the current recommendations from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Appropriate modifications have been made taking into account the cultural and financial diversity present in our country, with the final aim being to reduce all preventable maternal deaths and disabilities.

Basic essential care recommended for all pregnant women:

• All pregnant women must be counselled for regular Antenatal visits. Minimum one visit in the first trimester, monthly visits till 30 weeks, every 2 weekls till 36 weeks and weekly visits till delivery.

• Blood investigations for Hb, Blood grouping and Rh Typing, VDRL, Blood sugar –R, and a Routine Urine examination with albumin & sugar should be done.

• A repeat Hb and Urine Sugar to be done in the third trimester

• Immunisation with 2 doses of TT / Td

• Iron, Folic Acid and Calcium Supplements

• At least one Ultrasound for congenital anomalies should be done before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

• Delivery by a doctor or a trained birth attendant

• Education on nutrition, diet and hygiene

• Education in breastfeeding and birth spacing and contraception methods

Besides the basic essential ANC, the following should be preferably offered if easily available:

• Additional care and investigations to be preferably offered if available for routine ante-natal care of a normal healthy woman

• Preconception counselling and care

• Counselling for HIV, HbsAg and HCV testing

• Counselling and screening for Thalassaemia, Down’s syndrome

• Repeat blood for Hb, Blood sugar screening and Urine Evaluation in each trimester

• Ultrasound evaluation once in each trimester

• Institutional delivery recommended

• Additional screening for infections, growth retardation, thyroid dysfunctions

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free pregnancy, Metropolis Healthcare has launched a comprehensive pregnancy testing solution—Prega-Pro. This package includes all the blood tests a pregnant woman should undergo during her nine months of pregnancy. Prega-Pro also includes newborn screening (NBS) tests for the baby. This test is done on the baby in the first 24-48 hours of life using a heel prick blood sample. NBS helps identify genetic and metabolic disorders which may be hidden at the time of birth and manifest later in life. The Indian Academy of Paediatrician recommends (IAP) recommends screening newborns for a minimum of three disorders: congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and Glucose-6Phospahte Dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. These tests are available in Metropolis under the speciality – Neoxpert.

The writer is Head- Research & Development and Academics cell.

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