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8 Health problems that prenatal tests detect

8 Health problems that prenatal tests detect

Various Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be passed from the mother to the child during gestation. HIV is one of the most known viruses, but it is not only it that can harm a baby's health. Syphilis also enters this group. To promote the awareness of pregnant women and their sexual partners about the importance of prenatal tests for the early detection of syphilis, the Ministry of Health launches a national action to combat congenital syphilis that affects children.

Pregnant women - Photo: Getty Images

The purpose of this action is to emphasize the importance of prenatal care and screening in early pregnancy, not to mention the health of the man throughout the process. Pregnant and sexual partner should seek the nearest health facility to perform the test and make the treatment. The Unified Health System offers, free of charge, testing and treatment for various diseases.

This action has the support of states, municipalities, civil society, associations, societies and class councils of health professionals for reduction of congenital syphilis in Brazil.


Syphilis can be transmitted from the mother to the child during pregnancy. Untreated women in the recent phase of the disease (less than a year) had the highest rates of transmission for their infants.

A pregnant woman who was not diagnosed and not treated correctly during prenatal care, timely, can cause abortion, stillbirth, malformations and skin lesions, among other consequences, with mortality around 40% in infected children.

According to data from the Epidemiological Bulletin of Syphilis of 2016, from 2005 to June of 2016, 169,546 cases of syphilis in pregnant women were reported in the national system. In 2015, the rate of detection of syphilis in pregnant women was 11.2 cases per 1,000 live births, considering a total of 33,365 cases of the disease.

With regard to congenital syphilis, in 1998 June 2016, 142,961 cases were reported in the national system in children under one year of age. A total of 19,228 cases of congenital syphilis were reported in 2015, with an incidence rate of 6.5 per 1,000 live births.

The best way to address the problem of congenital syphilis is timely diagnosis. Therefore, the prenatal examination is so important for the pregnant woman, her sexual partner and the baby.

See other 7 diseases and complications that prenatal tests can detect:


The pregnant woman should perform the blood count during gestation. The test measures components in the blood, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells are especially important, because they may indicate if the pregnant woman has anemia.

The hemogram should be requested at the first consultation of pregnancy and may be repeated at other times. Lack of iron can lead to premature labor. When the pregnant woman has anemia, she should be treated and accompanied by the health professional.

Gestational diabetes

Another condition that deserves attention is gestational diabetes. Fasting blood glucose test indicates the amount of glucose in your blood. If the rates are above normal, the health professional can evaluate the possibility that the pregnant woman has developed the disease.

Gestational diabetes makes pregnancy at risk and can cause health problems in the fetus. The condition must be diagnosed in the prenatal period so that the health professional guides and accompanies the pregnant woman in the following months until the child is born.HIV

During prenatal care, both the woman and her sexual partner need to be tested for HIV. If the result is positive, the pregnant woman should be referred to a specialized HIV / AIDS service for treatment and follow-up, avoiding transmission of the virus to the child. Pregnant women with HIV / AIDS should be advised not to breastfeed and should receive infant formula (formula) provided by the HIV / AIDS service.

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection is not always accompanied by signs and symptoms. symptoms. Therefore, the urine test is so important. The problem calls for a lot of attention because if left untreated, the infection can go to the kidneys or the whole body and cause premature delivery.

The urine test is already requested at the first prenatal visit and must be repeated

Serologies for viral hepatitis B and C and for cytomegalovirus

Serology tests for hepatitis B and C and for cytomegalovirus indicate whether the mother has any of these diseases. Viral hepatitis B and C can be transmitted from the mother to the child during gestation. During the prenatal period, the pregnant woman should receive the vaccine against hepatitis B, preventing the disease. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. As for cytomegalovirus, it is considered rare and may cause malformations in the child.

These tests are done in the first trimester and repeated in the third trimester of pregnancy. According to professional medical evaluation of health, they can be done more often if necessary.

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