A pregnant woman may be offered several prenatal tests throughout her pregnancy. Some tests - such as blood tests - are performed routinely on all pregnant women to determine blood type and iron levels. Other tests are done to screen patients for a condition they or the baby are at risk for developing.
Women who are over 35 years of age or those at risk of delivering a baby with birth defects may want to consider other tests, such as CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) and amniocentesis.
Some tests are done later in pregnancy to measure fetal well-being and assure that the baby is growing and developing at the expected rate.
The following links describe some of the more common prenatal tests. Your health care provider (and sometimes a genetic counselor) can help you determine which test(s) might be recommended for your pregnancy and assist you in making your decision(s).
Fetal Movement Counts
From 28 weeks of pregnancy until delivery, you can perform one of the best ways to keep track of a healthy baby through counting his/her movements. Healthy babies are very active, particularly in the evening after dinner. However, some perfectly normal babies may sleep quietly for as long as 60 minutes without moving. Babies who are having problems are usually sluggish and move less. Counting these movements can provide you and your doctor or midwife with a warning of developing problems.
The instructions below are a way to help you and your health care provider be sure that your baby is feeling well.
- You may count at any time of the day, when you feel the baby is more active. For most women, this is in the evening after dinner when you are lying down and quiet. Lying on your side is best. Record the time that you start counting.
- Count ten separate times that the baby moves. A movement may be a kick, turn, or a flip of the baby.
- Record the time you feel the 10th movement. If you count 10 movements in less than one hour, stop counting until tomorrow.
- If one hour passes with less than 10 movements and you have been counting during the day, repeat the counting routine in the evening.
- The baby may move all 10 times in 1/2 hour or less.
- The baby may take up to one hour to move 10 times.
- The important thing is to know what is normal for your baby so you can tell your doctor or midwife that something different is happening.
Call your doctor or midwife if:
- You do not feel 10 movements in one hour.
- You have not felt the baby move all day.
- It is taking longer and longer each evening to get to the 10th movement.