The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment of an infection. Screening tests are usually given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
You will get several screening tests as part of your routine prenatal care. Screening tests can help your doctor know if you are at risk for certain infections during pregnancy. Tests may include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women are screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on their first prenatal visit. Screening will look for the following STDs:
In some cases, your doctor will also screen you for Hepatitis C and bacterial vaginosis.
The CDC also recommends that you are screened for Group B streptococcal disease (GBS) at 35-37 weeks. If the test is positive, you will be given antibiotics to treat this infection during labor.
A pre-pregnancy checkup can help you avoid infection in pregnancy and improve the chances of having a healthy baby. At a pre-pregnancy visit, your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, past pregnancies, and lifestyle. You can ask questions and discuss concerns, such as whether work or hobbies expose you to potential hazards.
Blood tests measure immunity to certain infections. If you have immunity, you cannot get the infection again. If you do not have immunity, you may be able to get a vaccine to protect you from the infection. During a pre-pregnancy visit, you can be checked for:
Apgar BS, Greenberg G, et al. Prevention of group B streptococcal disease in the newborn. Am Fam Physician. 2005;71:903-910. Available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0301/p903.html .
ACOG practice bulletin. Perinatal viral and parasitic infections. Number 20, September 2000. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2002 76(1):95-107. Reaffirmed 2011.
Bacterial vaginosis - CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/BV/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm . Updated September 1, 2010. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Chorioamnionitis. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/3800/3857.asp?index=12309 . Accessed July 29, 2013.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/index.html . Updated July 28, 2010. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Group B Strep (GBS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/index.html . Updated May 23, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Listeria and pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/listeria.html . Updated June 2011. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Pregnancy and fifth disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parvovirusB19/pregnancy.html . Updated February 14, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Schrag SJ, Arnold KE, et al. Prenatal screening for infectious diseases and opportunities for prevention. Obstet Gynecol . 2003;102:753-760.
STDs and pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/STDFact-Pregnancy.htm . Updated July 10, 2013. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Toxoplasmosis. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis.html . Updated January 2011. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Urinary tract infection during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/utiduringpreg.html . Updated April 2006. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Varicella. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated April 13, 2013. Accessed July 29, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2014 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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