The second trimester of pregnancy includes the mid-three months (14th-27 weeks) of the development of the baby inside the mother’s womb. Tests in the second trimester of pregnancy are specifically performed to help determine a due date, any troubling lifestyle issues, ruling out fetal abnormalities, baby positioning, heartbeat and heart rate.
Why are Tests Important During Pregnancy?
Tests during pregnancy help in understanding the complexities involved during and after child-birth. They help parents understand health issues beforehand. Test results showing abnormalities can determine if the unborn child will be a ‘special needs’ case as well. Mentally preparing the parents for the upbringing of such a child is also an outcome of such tests. Besides predicting the physiology, they help in aiding the delivery of the baby as well.
Screening tests in the second trimester of pregnancy include the Quad Screen and Triple Screen (also known as AFP Plus and Multiple Marker Screening). These screenings are performed during the 15th to 20th week of pregnancy to check for any genetic birth defects like Down’s Syndrome and Edward’s Syndrome. They screen out the four basic hormones known as AFP, hCG (also screened during first trimester of pregnancy), Estriol and Inhibin-A.
A simple ultrasound is necessary for every woman to check the position and health of her baby. The Fetal Doppler ultrasound is performed to check the blood flow from the placenta to the fetus.
Common Blood and Urine Testing
Quantitative tests in the second trimester of pregnancy to check for glucose, hemoglobin, Rh, etc are done throughout the pregnancy. These are recommended since they help in maintaining the blood sugar and protein levels.
Increased or lowered blood pressure of the mother can affect the development of the baby. Continous monitoring is thus essential.
This procedure is highly recommended for women with a family history and increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities. It is also important for those who conceive after the age of 30. This is a painful yet highly beneficial procedure, where the amniotic fluid is extracted during the 15th -20th week of pregnancy and is then tested.
Chronic Villus Sampling (CVS)
CVS is also among the tests in the second trimester of pregnancy. It is done by extracting placental blood and testing it for severe risk of chromosomal abnormalities. In the case of any detected abnormality or some other fetal defect, Fetoscopy is another test performed during the second trimester. However, it can be dangerous for both the baby and the mother.