Testing is available to help detect problems during pregnancy that could affect the mother or baby. Ultrasound uses sound waves to provide an image of the developing baby inside the uterus. Bloodwork and other tests are available to check for birth defects and genetic disorders. Prenatal screening tests are helpful when there’s a family history of birth defects or genetic conditions, a previous child with a birth defect or genetic disorder or previous pregnancy losses, stillbirths or newborn death. Other risk factors for problems include the use of certain medications, diabetes and more advanced maternal age. There are also certain problems that are higher risk based on the family’s ethnic background.
Ultrasound is used to confirm the age of the fetus, check for ectopic pregnancy, check the number of babies, evaluate the baby’s growth, assess the placenta and amniotic fluid and look for any physical abnormalities and specific birth defects