The American Academy of Family Physicians says there are many tests that a doctor or midwife can run on you during your pregnancy to help determine if your fetus has a problem. These include:
* Ultrasound is becoming more and more common. The sonogram pictures are sometimes used by parents to announce their upcoming addition to the family. Ultrasounds do more then just supply a picture and the sex of the fetus; they can also help a doctor diagnose causes of bleeding, and help check on the overall health of the baby.
* Blood tests: A simple blood test called alpha-fetoprotein (AFP or AFT) can check for a number of problems including spinal cord defects and the possibility of Down syndrome. AFP is not definitive however and other tests may be needed. Blood tests for beta human chorionic gonadotropin (ß-hCG) and plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) combined with an ultrasound, called nuchal translucency that measures the thickness at the back of the neck of the fetus, can indicate an increased risk of Down syndrome and the need for additional diagnostic testing.
* Amniocentesis is used to check for a number of genetic and metabolic diseases and for fetal lung maturity. The test involves inserting a needle into the womb to extract fluid. It is often done with the assistance of ultrasound to see the baby's position and the structures inside the womb. That fluid is then tested. There are some concerns about side effects from this test.
Morning sickness and nausea are common to about 70 percent of pregnant women. Most nausea occurs during the early part of pregnancy and, in most cases, will subside or go away entirely once you enter the second trimester, according to AAFP. The hormonal changes in your body are a suspected cause, according to ACOG. They might cause you to become nauseous or sick when you smell or eat certain things, when you are tired or stressed , or for no apparent reason at all. Sometimes iron supplements can play a role, if they upset your stomach. Discuss the issues with your healthcare provider. For some women, it might last longer than the early stages of pregnancy or even throughout the entire nine months.
Nausea in early pregnancy is a condition that often can be managed nutritionally. Here are some tips from the National Women's Health Information Center:
* eat small meals
* avoid going long periods without food
* drink fluids between, but not with, meals
* avoid foods that are greasy, fried or highly spiced
* avoid foul and unpleasant odors
* eat crackers and other bland foods when you feel nauseous
* rest when you are tired
Severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (known as hyperemesis gravidarum) is rare, but if it occurs, it may cause you to become dehydrated or it can be a symptom of other conditions. Your healthcare provider should be informed if this occurs. If you feel that your nausea or vomiting is keeping you from eating right or gaining enough weight, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. Severe cases of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, can result in serious complications.