May 31, 2022
By Dr. Inna Russell, OB-GYN
During pregnancy, certain lab tests are recommended for all women. Although most women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, routine tests can help detect possible problems. Your obstetrician–gynecologist (OB-GYN) might recommend additional tests depending on your medical history, family history, ethnic background, or previous test results. The sooner a problem is found, the sooner it can be managed.
In addition to routine tests during early pregnancy such as blood tests and urinalysis, pregnant women typically are tested for specific diseases and infections early in pregnancy, including
- hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- human immunodeficiency (HIV)
- tuberculosis (TB)
Why is testing for rubella done?
Rubella (sometimes called German measles) can cause birth defects if a woman is infected during pregnancy. Your blood can show whether you have been infected with rubella or if you have been vaccinated against this disease. If you had this infection before or you have been vaccinated against rubella, you are immune to the disease.
What if I’m not immune to rubella?
Rubella is easily spread. If your blood test shows you are not immune, avoid anyone who has the disease while you are pregnant. There is a vaccine, but it contains a live virus and is not recommended for pregnant women. If you have not been vaccinated, you can get the measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) vaccine after the baby is born.
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a virus that infects the liver. Pregnant women who are infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C can pass the virus to their fetuses. All pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection.
What if I have hepatitis during pregnancy?
If you are infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C, you might need special care during pregnancy. Your baby also may need special care after birth. You can breastfeed if you have either infection. A vaccine is available to protect the baby against hepatitis B. The vaccine is given as a series of three shots, with the first dose given to the baby within a few hours of birth.
Why should I have tests for sexually transmitted infections?
STIs can cause complications for you and your fetus. All pregnant women are tested for syphilis and chlamydia early in pregnancy. Tests for these infections may be repeated later in pregnancy if you have certain risk factors. You will also be tested for gonorrhea if you are 25 or younger or you live in an area where gonorrhea is common.
What if I have a sexually transmitted infection?
If you have an STI, you will be treated during pregnancy and tested again to see if the treatment has worked. Your sex partner or partners also should be treated.
Why is it important to have a test for human immunodeficiency virus?
HIV attacks cells of the body’s immune system and causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). If you have HIV, there is a chance you could pass it to your fetus.
What if I have human immunodeficiency virus?
While you are pregnant, you can take medication that can greatly reduce the risk of passing HIV to your fetus. You also can get specialized care to ensure that you stay as healthy as possible throughout your pregnancy.
Who should be tested for tuberculosis?
Women at high risk of TB should be tested for it. Those at high risk include people who are infected with HIV or who live in close contact with someone who has TB.
At Clark Just for Women Health Solutions, our team of OB-GYNS is here to walk you through these tests and others you may need to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Call us at 812-280-7063 to schedule an appointment.