What Is First Trimester Pregnancy Monitoring?
After a positive pregnancy test, patients are seen for evaluation visits during the first trimester of their pregnancy. During this time we typically evaluate a patient every 1-2 weeks and perform regular blood tests (prenatal panel, hormone evaluations, etc.); as well as ultrasounds to ensure that your pregnancy is progressing normally. At the end of this 12-week period, we will make arrangements to “graduate” you to a general Obstetrician (Ob/Gyn) who will follow you throughout the remainder of your pregnancy until delivery. If you are identified as having a “high-risk” pregnancy, then we will refer you to a Perinatologist (also called, High-Risk Obstetrician or Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist) or other specialist as indicated.
When is It Used?
Patients who seek fertility treatments are often at increased pregnancy risk and miscarriage due to either their advanced maternal age or other issues, such as repeat miscarriage (i.e., recurrent pregnancy loss) or underlying illness (i.e. diabetes, thyroid disease). For this reason, we track the progress of your pregnancy to assess the health of both the mother and the fetus from the start of the pregnancy. We also recommend blood tests that help identify if the fetus is at risk for genetic issues that may result in an unsuccessful pregnancy or an unhealthy child.
What Do I Need to Know?
During the first trimester monitoring, in addition to ultrasound and hormone evaluations, we will perform blood tests to check the patient’s thyroid function, screen for diabetes, and check that hormone levels are within the accepted norms for each stage of their pregnancy.
At approximately 10 weeks gestation, we can perform cell-free fetal fraction DNA testing of maternal blood serum to screen for fetal genetic conditions such as trisomy 21 (resulting in Down’s syndrome), trisomy 18 (resulting in Edwards syndrome), trisomy 13 (resulting in Patau syndrome), several micro-deletions, as well as gender. During this time, patients will be apprised of any concerns, allowing them to make the best possible decisions relating to their pregnancy.
If needed, we can also assist patients in finding an Obstetrician (OB/GYN) or high-risk OB/GYN who can follow them through the rest of their pregnancy.