Let's talk about Prenatal Testing
When practicing medicine we are in an area where everything is important, any word or gesture says something to the patient, therefore humanity must prevail.
But I particularly think that there are two areas that are the most sensitive, on the one hand pediatrics, working with children is not easy, you always have to look for many ways to approach them and help them, but personally I think that the area of obstetrics is extremely difficult and extremely careful, because *it is not only the mother but also the baby who is in intrauterine development.
I would like to socialize today on a topic that I have been reviewing these last few days, because there has been a lot of progress, and even though I don't work in that area it is always important to try to keep up with it, so let's talk about some important prenatal exams.
Before mentioning some tests, I think it is important to mention that I understand that there are couples who refuse to undergo any kind of tests, including not allowing vaccinations, or the use of ultrasound, or anything else. Which is to be respected and they have the right to do so.
But even so, as health personnel, I consider that it is a mistake not to undergo any type of examination, for example, a urine test can detect in time a urinary infection that could be potentially fatal even for the developing fetus. An ultrasonogram allows us to see before delivery if the baby has any problems that could put it at risk at birth, such as a circular umbilical cord or poor posture.
And they are both non-invasive tests, but as I said before, they are decisions of the couple, and they must be respected, because otherwise there may be legal problems.
Having said this, which is a personal and professional position, let's go on to talk about some tests that are necessary at different stages of pregnancy, to monitor fetal development.
There are basic tests that are performed in the first stage, although ideally even before the woman becomes pregnant, but not always pregnancies are planned, therefore, usually end up being done during the first trimester, the main ones:
- HIV: A woman with HIV can get pregnant, currently this infection is not an absolute limitation, however there must be a very rigorous control to prevent the baby from contracting the disease.
Therefore it is a very important test for the rest of the pregnancy and to know how to manage the process of birth of the child.
- Glycemia: diabetes must be controlled, because otherwise the developing fetus can have serious problems because of this basic condition of the mother. The mother may not even suffer from the disease but may develop it during the pregnancy process due to the hormonal changes she presents.
The only way to find out is by monitoring through laboratory tests.
- VDRL: it is a very important test to detect a very dangerous venereal disease for the mother as well as for the child, such as Syphilis.
This disease causes very serious neurological diseases in the developing fetus, it can even cause death in the child.
- Toxoplasmosis: it is also another test that must be ruled out, since this parasite can cause serious problems in the fetus.
Although they seem to be a lot of tests, they can be done with the same blood sample, so there is no need for the mother to undergo multiple injections, which is uncomfortable.
But they are of the type of screening tests, which allow to avoid complications since it gives the medical staff the ability to act in advance so that the child does not suffer the consequences of diseases such as the ones I mentioned above.
But there are other diagnostic tests, among the most commonly used is ultrasound. It is an imaging study, harmless for the mother as well as for the baby. That is to say, it does not cause any harm, and it allows us to visualize the structures of the fetus very well, thus allowing us to see if there are any abnormalities in the physical development.
I can say that it is one of the most important tools in pregnancy control.
Amniocentesis is a highly invasive test that is only performed by specialized physicians. It consists of introducing a needle into the uterine cavity, guided by ultrasound, which allows obtaining amniotic fluid, and in this there will be both maternal and fetal cells. These cells will be genetically studied to determine the baby's state of health.
It is a very advanced study, since it provides information about the baby, about diseases it may have, among many other things, practically by having access to a person's DNA you can know everything about him, so if there is a test that reveals information, it is this one.
However, it is not commonly used, because usually with routine tests you get enough information to know that the baby is in good condition.
There are many more like the ones I have mentioned, I could dedicate another post to this, however, what I wanted to emphasize the most is that we should respect the decision of couples when they decide not to have tests, however, it is necessary to make them see the importance of these tests, at least the most basic ones in the early detection of diseases to avoid complications for both the mother and the baby.
I would like to know what you think about prenatal exams, do you think they are necessary?