Routine Tests During Pregnancy

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If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for Westwood or 424-259-9250 for Santa Monica.

Routine Tests During Pregnancy

At UCLA Health, we want you and your baby to be healthy throughout your pregnancy. We also want to check for health challenges that you or your baby might face so we are fully prepared to care for you.

Below are some of the most common tests we’ll ask you to have during your pregnancy. Your OBGYN doctor or nurse midwife may recommend other tests as well, depending on your health needs. For information about which tests are recommended, please see our Pregnancy Timeline Checklist.

These tests are routinely recommended as part of your pregnancy care. They help identify conditions that could complicate your pregnancy.

Complete Blood Count

In some cases, this test is done three or more times during pregnancy. Your red blood cell number shows whether you have enough healthy red blood cells. Your white blood cell number shows how many infection-fighting cells are in your blood. It’s normal for this level to be slightly high during pregnancy. Your platelet count can show whether you have problems related to blood clotting. The reference ranges provided by the lab are not specific to pregnancy. Your care team will send you a message if there is an abnormal value that is concerning.

Blood Type

This test checks your blood type (A, B, AB or O) and your Rh factor (positive or negative). If you are Rh negative, a RhoGAM shot is recommended during, and possibly after, your pregnancy to reduce the chances of fetal anemia in future pregnancies.


A urine test is done to check for urinary-tract infection, diabetes or preeclampsia (a serious illness that includes very high blood pressure).

Urine Culture

These are tests for bladder and kidney infections, which are common during pregnancy.


This is a blood test to see if you’ve had a rubella (German measles) infection or if you’ve been vaccinated against this disease. An "immune" result is normal and means that you should not be become infected with this disease during pregnancy.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. If you test positive for hepatitis B, your care team can help prevent your baby from becoming infected by vaccinating him or her within the first hours of life. It’s still safe for you to breastfeed if you test positive for Hepatitis B.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

This is a virus that attacks the immune system. A pregnant person with HIV could pass the virus on to their baby. However, medications and other strategies are used to protect at-risk newborns.

Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause complications for you and your baby. If you have a sexually transmitted infection, your care team will treat you for it during pregnancy and retest you later to see if the treatment worked.

Pap smear and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

This is a cervical-cancer screening. If you are due for a pap smear during your pregnancy, your OBGYN doctor will complete it during your physical exam.

Tuberculosis (TB)

If you test positive for this serious lung infection, your OBGYN doctor will recommend a chest X-ray — usually after you deliver. Medications and other strategies can help protect your baby and close family members from becoming infected with tuberculosis.

Genetic counseling

Genetic counseling is different from genetic testing. Genetic counselors have advanced training in genetics, and they can let you and your partner know your risk of having a child with a genetic disorder. They will review your medical and pregnancy history, as well as your family history. Genetic counselors help advise individuals and couples who are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant. They can explain what causes certain conditions, how these conditions are passed down, how doctors test for them and manage them, and what the usual prognosis is.

If you have the following family history, you may want to seek genetic counseling:

  • You or your partner have a family history of or have a child with any of the following conditions:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida
  • Chromosome abnormalities, such as Down syndrome
  • Single gene defects, such as cystic fibrosis or Phenylketonuria
  • Cleft lip or palate
  • Visual or hearing impairments
  • Heart defects
  • Cancers
  • Short stature
  • Learning disabilities
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Other genetic disorders
  • If you have had more than one miscarriage, stillbirths or infant deaths
  • If you or the father of the baby has a parent with an “autosomal dominant disorder,” which is a mutated gene that could cause genetic disorders, such as Huntington’s disease or any inherited disorder present in many generations of your family
  • If both parents of the baby are carriers for an autosomal recessive disorder (meaning you both have the gene but are not affected yourself); parents usually discover this through a screening or because they already have a child who is affected
  • If the birthing parent is a carrier of an X-linked disorder, such as hemophilia
  • If both parents of the baby are known carriers of a balanced chromosome abnormality

You may also want to seek genetic counseling if you have any of the following:

  • A blood test that shows a high risk for Down syndrome, neural tube defects or Edward’s syndrome
  • Birthing parent is 35 years or older at the time of delivery
  • Male partner is 50 or older
  • Birthing parent or baby has been exposed to harmful drugs, chemicals, radiation or infection
  • Birthing parent’s ultrasound shows abnormalities in the baby or there are other abnormal test results
  • The parents have certain health concerns, including:
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorder
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Other conditions that are linked to birth defects, including certain medications
  • There is an infertility issue and your doctor suspects a chromosome abnormality
  • You used assisted reproductive techniques to get pregnant, or you are donating eggs or sperm for those purposes
  • You are thinking of getting pregnant, but know that you and your partner are at high risk for genetic disorders because of family or personal medical history

Other reasons to seek genetic counseling include:

  • You have a great deal of anxiety about birth defects
  • You and the baby’s father are related by blood


Ultrasound scans are safe because there is no radiation. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to show an image of your internal organs, to check your baby’s development and health and verify your baby’s due date. The number of ultrasounds you’ll need depends on several things, including your and your baby’s health, your prior test results and any complications during your pregnancy. There are two kinds of ultrasounds that doctors use during pregnancy:

  • Abdominal ultrasound: A water-based gel is placed on your abdomen and used to move a probe around your abdomen and capture images.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: The doctor or technician inserts a small ultrasound probe into your vagina. Your doctor might use this kind of ultrasound in early pregnancy because it provides a clearer image. 

    Some birthing parents may feel a slight pressure from the probe on their abdomen or in their vagina, but it’s not usually painful. For those allergic to latex, the test uses a latex sheath to cover the transvaginal probe. Please let your care team know if you have a latex allergy.

If you have questions about any of these tests, please talk to your UCLA Health care team.

Pregnancy Timeline Checklist