The mission for pregnancy is to have a healthy mother and a healthy baby. To achieve this goal, certain tests have to be performed at regular intervals during pregnancy to ensure the health and well-being of mother and baby. These are often referred to as ‘screening’ tests as most of the time, they would indicate normal results.
Screening is a term used in medicine to imply – ‘looking for abnormality / disease / problems’. Generally, it is a process by which healthy individuals are assessed (by various ways including history taking, examination, certain tests, etc) for their ‘risk’ of development of problems / abnormalities. Hence, the report of these screening tests is declared as ‘low risk’ (usually as it implies, small risk of problems) or ‘high risk’.
We screen for hypothyroidism, anemia, beta thalassemia, viral markers (like HIV and Hepatitis), gestational diabetes, hypertension and urine infection as a routine in the mother.
In the baby, we screen for chromosomal abnormalities (like Down syndrome), structural anomalies or malformations and growth restriction.