Throughout the different stages of your pregnancy, you will be offered a number of tests. They are offered and performed to ensure the continued well being of you and your baby prior to birth.
Your midwife or doctor should give you plenty of information about each test to alleviate any concerns you may have, or to help you make an informed decision about whether to take the test or not.
Tests routinely offered to women in early pregnancy include:
FBC and Blood Group
Checks your haemoglobin levels and indicates the possible need for extra iron via a supplement.
Rhesus Negative (RhD-negative) mothers are advised to receive Anti-D injections during pregnancy and sometimes one after the birth of their baby. Anti-D injections are offered to all pregnant women who have a RhD-negative blood group to prevent the possibility of the blood disorder RhD haemolytic disease of the newborn.
Undertaken to confirm whether you are immune to German Measles.
Undertaken to confirm if you are immune to Chicken Pox.
Early detection and treatment during pregnancy is possible. Some women may also be offered screening for Chlamydia.
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV testing
Testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV is recommended, following counseling for risk factors.
Nuchal Translucency/Amniocentesis/Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
These tests may be offered to women who are at greater risk of having a baby with a chromosomal problem, or if you are over 35 years of age.
Tests offered in the second trimester:
You will be offered an ultrasound scan at 18-20 weeks. This test uses sound waves to build up a picture of your baby whilst in the uterus. You can choose whether or not you would like to have this scan. Some women may also be offered or recommended extra ultrasounds to monitor baby.
The purpose of the 18-20 week scan is:
- To ensure your estimated date of birth is correct, if this has not already been confirmed.
- To check the placenta has attached in the correct place.
- To see if there is more than one baby (eek!).
- To check for fetal abnormalities that may be present and able to be seen in the ultrasound.
Most women have a reassuring result from the routine scan and enjoy the opportunity to actually ‘see’ their baby. The sex of the baby can sometimes be determined, but is not always accurate!
At around 28 weeks, a blood sugar test will be undertaken to test for diabetes in pregnancy. The sweetest drink you’ve ever tasted is supplied to you to drink to kick things off, then blood is taken to measure blood sugar immediately after the drink and a few hours later. Mummy tip: take magazines!
Tests offered right at the pointy end:
Group B Streptococcus
Around 35-37 weeks, a vaginal swab for Group B Streptococcus screening is offered, for which antibiotics would be required for during labour if the result is positive.
If your previous ultrasound indicated the placenta may be blocking your baby’s way out you may have a follow up ultra sound to confirm whether a natural birth will be possible or not.
If you have any questions or think any of these tests would be helpful to you and you haven’t been offered them, you should speak to your Midwife or Doctor.
Krissy Hacker is a wife and SAHM of 2, mad gardener, crafty lady, confectioner and fabulous cook. She loves reviving old school ways of doing things and would do anything to get out of housework!
If you become concerned about any symptoms please seek immediate medical attention – we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice – http://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/
SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.