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Checkups, scans and tests during pregnancy

As part of your antenatal care you will be offered a number of check-ups, tests and scans. Some tests are offered to every woman as part of normal antenatal care in Australia. Other tests will be suggested if you or your baby have a higher risk of problems or are experiencing any concerns during the pregnancy. You don’t have to do any recommended tests if you don’t want to — it’s your choice.

Source: Health Direct – Pregancy Birth & Baby: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au

Many problems can be detected before your baby is born, but not all of them. There are two main types of test offered during antenatal care:

  • Screening tests, which will let you know if your baby has a higher risk of having a problem, but can’t confirm the problem for sure
  • Diagnostic tests, which show whether your baby has a problem, with a much greater level of certainty

Your check-ups and tests may be done at a hospital, doctor’s clinic or somewhere else in your community, depending on whether you’re having your baby in a public or private hospital, a birthing centre or at home. This may also determine whether your check-ups are done by your GP, midwife or obstetrician.

The timing and number of some of the visits and tests listed below may change slightly depending on the antenatal care you choose, if you’ve had a prior pregnancy and if you are having any problems.
Here are the check-ups, tests and scans you would usually be offered if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy:

First visit

  • Confirmation that you are pregnant
  • Calculating how many weeks your pregnancy is and when your due date will be. You may be offered an ultrasound scan if the date is not clear.
  • Blood pressure, height and weight
  • Full blood test, to check your blood group and test for anaemia, rubella immunity, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis, chlamydia and HIV
  • Urine test, to see if you have a bladder or urinary tract infection
  • Screening for Down syndrome
  • Cervical screening to check for human papillomavirus (HPV) and/or any signs of cervical cancer
  • If at risk of vitamin D deficiency, a test for this may be offered

As part of your check-up, you will usually also discuss with your doctor or midwife:

  • Which medications you are taking
  • Whether you smoke or drink alcohol
  • Whether you would like an influenza (flu) vaccination
  • Which vitamin and mineral supplements you can take or should avoid
  • Antenatal care options available to you
  • Where you can get further information and antenatal classes

Read more here about your first antenatal visit.

19-20 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if there are any problems
  • Ultrasound scan to check your baby’s physical development, growth and any complications with your pregnancy. If you want to, during the ultrasound, you can find out whether the baby is a boy or girl.

22 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if you have any problems

26-27 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if you have any problems
  • Blood glucose tolerance test for diabetes

28 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if you have any problems
  • Checking your baby’s heartbeat and movements
  • Discussing your birth plan and going home with your baby
  • Blood test to check for anaemia and blood platelet levels. Your health professional may also check again for syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV
  • If your blood type is Rh negative, an anti-D immunoglobulin injection may be given
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination
  • Urine test, if you have signs of a urinary tract infection or raised blood pressure

32 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • • checking how your health is and if you have any problems
  • • checking your baby’s heartbeat and movements
  • • urine test, if you have signs of a urinary tract infection or raised blood pressure

34-36 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if you have any problems
  • Checking your baby’s heartbeat and movements
  • Urine test, if you have signs of a urinary tract infection or raised blood pressure
  • Vaginal swab for Group B streptococcus (GBS)
  • If your blood type is Rh negative, a second anti-D immunoglobulin injection may be given
  • Assessing presentation (which way up your baby is) and station (how far down the baby’s head has moved into your pelvis)

38-39 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if you have any problems
  • Checking your baby’s heartbeat and movements
  • Urine test, if you have signs of a urinary tract infection or raised blood pressure
  • Assessing presentation and station

40-41 weeks

  • Blood pressure
  • Measuring your tummy (abdominal palpation) to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking how your health is and if you have any problems
  • Checking your baby’s heartbeat and movements
  • Urine test, if you have signs of a urinary tract infection or raised blood pressure
  • Assessing presentation and station
  • If you haven’t had your baby yet, checking your baby’s heartbeat and the amount of fluid around them

As well as the tests, scans and check-ups listed above, your GP, midwife or obstetrician may offer further tests, depending on your risk factors and circumstances. These can include:

  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), where a small amount of the baby’s placenta is collected to test for chromosome problems such as Down syndrome or other abnormality. This is usually done between 10 and 11 weeks of pregnancy, or at another time if a problem is suspected.
  • Non-invasive pre-natal testing (NIPT), which is a very accurate test to detect Down syndrome and certain other abnormalities. It is performed between 11 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy.
  • A nuchal translucency scan, which looks at the back of your baby’s neck to assess the risk of your baby having Down syndrome. This test is done between 11 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days, and may be conducted at the same time as the dating ultrasound.
  • Amniocentesis, where a small amount of amniotic fluid (fluid around the baby) is collected to test if the baby has a chromosome problem or other abnormality. This is usually done at 15-18 weeks, or at another time if a problem is detected.

Source: Health Direct – Pregancy Birth & Baby: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/checkups-and-scans-during-your-pregnancy

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