Pregnancy Tests and Procedures

Common Tests During Pregnancy
Certain tests and screenings may be scheduled during your pregnancy. Your health care provider will advise you on which tests you'll need.
Maternal and Fetal Testing
Women with high-risk pregnancies often need a close watch for potential problems or complications. Many tests and procedures are available to monitor the health of both mother and baby.

Detailed Test & Procedure Guides

First Trimester Screening
Screening during the first trimester is a combination of ultrasound and two blood tests. These tests can help determine the risk of certain birth defects.
Second Trimester Prenatal Screening Tests
Screening is usually performed by taking a sample of the mother's blood between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy (16th to 18th is ideal).
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
Alpha-fetoprotein screening is a blood test that measures the level of AFP in the mothers' blood. Abnormal levels may indicate certain problems with the fetus.
Fetal Ultrasound
Fetal ultrasound is a test used during pregnancy that creates an image of the fetus in the mother's uterus, or womb.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
This prenatal test involves taking a sample of tissue from the placenta to test for chromosomal abnormalities and certain other genetic problems.
Amniocentesis Procedure
Amniocentesis is a procedure used to obtain a small sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. The fluid is analyzed to help diagnose certain birth defects.
Fetal Blood Sampling
Fetal blood sampling is a procedure to remove a small amount of blood from the fetus during pregnancy. It may be taken to diagnose problems or an infection.
External and Internal Heart Rate Monitoring of the Fetus
The fetal heart rate may change as the fetus responds to conditions in the uterus. An abnormal fetal heart rate or pattern may indicate that the fetus is not getting enough oxygen or that there are other problems.
Fetal Movement Counting
Fetal movement counting, often called kick counting, is a way a mother can help monitor the movements of her unborn baby by counting the number of kicks in a certain time period.
Nonstress Testing
Detailed information on nonstress testing
Biophysical Profile (BPP)
A biophysical profile is a test that combines a nonstress test with ultrasound. It's usually performed in the last trimester.
Doppler Flow Studies
Doppler flow is a type of ultrasound that measures the flow of blood through a blood vessel. Doppler flow studies may be used to assess blood flow in the umbilical blood vein and arteries, fetal brain, and fetal heart.
Cesarean Delivery
Cesarean delivery is the surgical delivery of a baby by an incision through the mother's abdomen and uterus. This procedure is performed when it is determined to be a safer method than a vaginal delivery for the mother, baby, or both.
Episiotomy
During childbirth, the vagina may not stretch enough. If this occurs, your health care provider may perform an episiotomy to help enlarge the opening and deliver the baby.
Biophysical Profile
A biophysical profile is a test that’s sometimes given during your third trimester of pregnancy. It is typically done if the health of your baby is in question because of the results of another test, because of certain pregnancy symptoms, or if your pregnancy is high risk.