Perhaps you or a loved one is pregnant. If the pregnancy is far enough along,
mom's belly is getting bigger, and the baby is kicking—both good signs. In
the past, these external cues were practically the only measures of how the
pregnancy was progressing. Today doctors have myriad techniques for tracking
the growth and health of a baby throughout pregnancy. Some tests are commonly
used during the course of most pregnancies; others have risks, and doctors turn
to them only during high-risk pregnancies. Some tests give peace of mind, or
force parents to make agonizing decisions, or provide information that can save
a baby's life. Here, explore many of the currently available screening
techniques that are changing the nature of pregnancy and parenthood.
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Lauren Aguirre is executive editor of NOVA Online.
Photos: (1) Corbis Images; (2-3,8) WGBH/NOVA; (5) Joshua A. Copel, MD
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine;
(6) Adam Anderson, PhD. Diagnostic Radiology and Applied Physics,
Yale University School of Medicine; (4,7) Courtesy of the Fetal Medicine Foundation.