Common Prenatal Tests & Screenings

UC San Diego Health provides the latest prenatal testing services for both low-risk and high-risk pregnancies.

We offer routine tests to make sure your baby is healthy. Your doctor may also recommend additional testing if you have any conditions that might affect the health of you or your baby.

There are two main types of prenatal testing:

  • Screening: Blood tests and ultrasound exams to identify if your baby could be born with a birth defect
  • Diagnostic: More invasive testing that can confirm a suspected diagnosis


Why Do You Need Prenatal Tests?

Prenatal testing can help you make informed decisions. Receiving normal results can ease your anxiety about your baby's health.

Many tests can detect some health problems that can be treated during pregnancy or immediately after birth. Meeting with a genetic counselor also can help you determine if you should pursue prenatal testing. For more information, see Genetic Counseling.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

Read more about amniocentesis in our Health Library

More info

Prenatal Ultrasound

Ultrasound scans offer a non-invasive, accurate diagnostic tool for dating a pregnancy, checking for any problems, and getting information about the fetus.

An ultrasound exam uses high-frequency sound waves to scan a woman's abdomen and pelvic cavity, creating a picture (sonogram) of the baby and placenta. It does not use X-rays or other types of radiation that could harm a fetus, and may be used as early as the fifth week of pregnancy.

At UC San Diego Health, our technology allows us to analyze complete, three-dimensional (3D) pictures of a fetus. We also have the capability to perform 4D ultrasound, which captures moving 3D images.

Except for the first-trimester ultrasound to confirm a pregnancy, ultrasounds are typically performed by our maternal-fetal care and genetics specialists at our Hillcrest or Sorrento Valley locations.

UC San Diego Health is accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine in both obstetric ultrasound and fetal echocardiography. A radiologist or perinatologist reviews all results.