by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Prenatal tests are done during pregnancy to track the health of you and your baby. The tests can find many health problems early. Screening tests include:

  • Ultrasounds
  • Pap smears
  • Blood and urine tests
  • They pose little risk to you and your baby. More testing can be done if a problem is found. Samples can be taken from the placenta, amniotic fluid, or the baby's umbilical cord.

    Tests can be used to look for:

    • Treatable health problems in the pregnant person that can harm the baby's health such as:
    • If the pregnant person is protected from certain health problems such as chickenpox or German measles
    • Size, age, and sex of the baby
    • Where the baby is in the uterus
    • Problems with genes

    Tests can show problems in the genes. That could mean the baby is at higher risk of having:

    Medicine has made a lot of progress in finding health issues in pregnancy. But prenatal tests cannot test for all possible problems. Only some problems can be treated.

    Why is prenatal testing performed?What are the different types of prenatal tests?What questions should I ask my doctor about prenatal testing?Where can I get more information about prenatal testing?


    Hsiao, C.H., Chen, C.H., et al. The impact of prenatal screening on prenatal diagnosis in Taiwan from 2006 to 2019: a regional cohort study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2022; 22: 23.

    Prenatal testing. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: Accessed March 23, 2022.

    Prenatal tests. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: Accessed March 23, 2022.

    Routine prenatal care. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed March 23, 2022.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
    • Review Date: 03/2022
    • Update Date: 03/24/2022