Prenatal Tests and Ultrasounds

How many tests and ultrasounds did you end up with during pregnancy (not labor)?


My friend insisted that she was poked with needles at such a non-stop rate that I was more terrified of being pregnant than of giving birth. Another friend seemed to have received far more ultrasounds than I did.

My hospital is more pro-natural birth, low monitoring–and basically everything recommended in a “birth plan” they do as their standard practice. It’s why I picked the hospital after all–that and they were the highest rated birthing center in the valley–making the 36.5 mile trek down California interstates worth it.

However, it got me curious about the number of tests others normally undergo.


  • 1, 8-week ultrasound
  • 1, 20-week ultrasound

That’s it, 2 ultrasounds. I won’t receive more unless I go past my due date by 1 week.

Though, I received 3 additional ultrasounds to those I’ve mentioned. Two of them were because I started bleeding (twice I did this) and had a panic attack–so they had me come in to confirm nothing was wrong (I even saw a doctor for those).

The last one I received because I opted for the the additional screening to check for trisomy 21 (down syndrome) and 18 due to my “advanced maternal age”–but they gave me the option to decline it. Since it was just two blood draws and an ultrasound, I decided I wanted to take the screening.

Did you have more ultrasounds than two? What for?


  • Prenatal Screening Round 1: 2 vials, 1 needle. 1 urine sample (plus the trisomy 21/18 screening, and a glucose panel due to my PCOS)
  • Glucose Tolerance Test (for gestational diabetes), 3 vials, 3 needles for my 2-hour fasting test. Better than the 2 needles for 1-hour and then 4 needles for the 3-hour.
  • Prenatal Screening Round 2: 2 vials, 1 needle. 1 urine sample.

That’s it, 7 vials of blood, 5 needles, 3 visits.

  • +1 visit, vial, and needle for the final blood draw for after the trisomy 21/18 ultrasound I elected to take
  • +2 vials for the extra glucose panels my midwives ordered for my PCOS w/ my regular screenings.

Not so bad for over the course of 9 months.

Did you receive more blood draws than this? What for?

Other tests?

My hospital has never even uttered the word “amniocentesis“–though I saw it mentioned in a pamphlet from one of our group prenatal sessions. No, thank you. They have mentioned a “non-stress test” during a prenatal session–but only as a result of our kick counts conversation and someone asking, “what happens if we don’t get 10 kicks?”

Did you receive others? Do you know why they were recommended?


My hospital has a 20% epidural rate, and a really low ceserean rate as well. I have full plans to do a tub birth (assuming they are available–there is only two). They have basically everything I wanted in a birth plan as their standard practice…I can bring food with me and even eat it (they even have fridges), delayed cord clamping, skin time post-birth, the baby never leaves the room, etc. etc.

How many needles and screening I actually end up with during birth, I’ll have to wait and see until that time comes. Until then… it’s going really smoothly.


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