Quantitative HCG Test
A special type of pregnancy test, called a quantitative HCG test,
is a blood test done in the first trimester. Your healthcare provider
may order it if there is concern about miscarriage or ectopic
pregnancy. The test measures the hormone HCG (human chorionic
gonadotropin), which your body produces early in pregnancy in rapidly
increasing amounts. Two or more tests done a few days apart identify
the change in the amount of the hormone. You may also have an
At every prenatal visit, your
healthcare provider will weigh you and check your blood pressure.
Simple as they are, these two tests provide a great deal of
information. Not gaining enough weight, or gaining too much, can
High blood pressure can be significant
during pregnancy, especially as you near your due date. By taking your
blood pressure throughout pregnancy, your healthcare provider
establishes what is normal for you. Changes in blood pressure readings
alert him or her to potential problems.
As your baby grows, your
healthcare provider measures you to check to see how much your uterus
has grown since your last visit. He or she also listens to the fetal
If you’re like most women, your
pregnancy progresses normally and you’re in good health in your third
trimester. At each prenatal visit, growth of the uterus is measured.
Your healthcare provider also checks your weight and blood pressure and
may perform a urinalysis. Checking your blood pressure and urine are
important during the last trimester to help detect pre-eclampsia, a condition more common in first-time pregnancies and in older pregnant women.
In this last trimester, you may have an
internal examination to see whether your cervix has begun to thin and
dilate, to evaluate the size of your pelvis and to see if your baby is
in the head-down position. You will usually have this examination in
the last few weeks of pregnancy. However, it can’t predict when you
will go into labor.
Other tests may be ordered if your baby
is postterm (overdue), your pregnancy is considered high risk or your
physician believes your baby might have a problem. Possible tests
include a nonstress test (NST), contraction stress test (CST),
ultrasound and a biophysical profile (BPP). These tests help determine
the well-being of mother and baby, or the kind of problem you or your
baby may be experiencing.
Time-Saving, Energy-Saving Tip
Cleaning up the kitchen can be tiring,
especially during pregnancy. To avoid unnecessary boil overs when
cooking, try this neat trick. Place a toothpick between the pan and the
lid to let steam escape so nothing boils over. Or place a wooden spoon
across the top of an open pan. No messes to clean up!