Published October 21, 2020 by Ichor Blood Services

Not quite sure why prenatal screening tests are so important? From making sure you and your baby have compatible blood types to ensuring you don't have any STIs that could lead to complications, prenatal screening tests are vitally important for both you and your baby's health. 

Due to the growing demand for our corporate or large bookings and travel testing for COVID-19 antibody or active PCR test collection, our Prenatal Screening Services are on hold. 


For most people, being pregnant is generally one of the most exciting times of their life. But as the excitement begins to dissipate and the reality of the situation begins to sink in, you may start to find yourself suddenly overwhelmed with all the tests and appointments that are required. While your doctor will undoubtedly do a good job of walking you through the importance of these prenatal screening tests, it can't hurt to have a little background on them beforehand. That's what this article is here to do. 


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Why Prenatal Screening Tests are So Important

Well before your baby is born, you and it will develop a special bond. Its health and well-being will have caused you to drastically change your habits and lifestyle. So perhaps the question isn't so much why prenatal screening tests are important, but rather how they're important. Let's take a look.

STI screening

For many soon-to-be-parents, especially those in a committed and monogamous relationship, it comes as a bit of a surprise that routine prenatal screening tests look for certain STIs. But the complications that can arise due to an STI being present in the mother are serious and potentially life-threatening for the baby. The most dangerous STI for a pregnant mother and her baby is syphilis, which has been linked to stillbirth, newborn death (death before 28 days of life), bone deformities, and neurological impairment. 


Blood type compatibility

One of the prenatal screening tests you'll undergo during your pregnancy focuses on blood type compatibility between you and your baby. It's called an ABO/Rh screen and it ensures no complications will arise due to you and your baby having different Rh factors or incompatibility. If the Rh factors between mom and baby are incompatible, mom's immune system may view the baby as a foreign threat much as it does with a virus. This could result in her immune system attacking the baby's cells, potentially leading to a miscarriage. 

Another prenatal screening test that has to do with the mother's blood is called a red blood cell (RBC) antibody screen. It tests to see if there are any antibodies in your blood that may be directed towards red blood cells. If there is, these antibodies may target your unborn baby much like your immune system would in Rh incompatibility.

First-trimester screening

As its name implies, this prenatal screening test is carried out during the first trimester and it is used along with an ultrasound to determine a mother's risk of carrying a baby with trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) or trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome). It requires two blood samples to be collected and can lead to further prenatal screening if a mother's risk is determined to be high.

The best for you and your baby

In the end, prenatal screening tests are extremely important when it comes to protecting the health of you and your baby. While it may seem overwhelming at first, most of these tests can have the samples they need for them collected in a single appointment. Just make sure you always ask your doctor what tests you are getting done so you can be as informed as possible about the process, and if you ever want further or enhanced prenatal screening to be carried out, don't be afraid to ask for it. 


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If you're looking for COVID-19 testing in Calgary, Edmonton, or Niagara Falls, Ichor Blood Services has you covered. For more information about the COVID-19 tests we offer, please give us a call at 1-844-424-6728 or fill out our contact form


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