Antenatal Tests and Investigations
It is usual to have a number of routine tests and investigations during your pregnancy. A number of tests are not performed routinely and are recommended only for some women.
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It is common to have a number of routine tests and investigations during your pregnancy. A number of tests are not performed routinely and are recommended only for some women due to make reasons. There are advantages and disadvantages for all tests offered by the hospital and we encourage you to discuss these with your doctor or midwife.
Prior your first visit
Please see your local GP to discuss and complete initial blood tests recommended in pregnancy, these include:
- to detect anaemia and red cell antibodies
- to record your blood group
- to check your immunity to Rubella (German Measles)
- to check whether you are positive for Hepatitis B or C, Syphilis or HIV (AIDS), where by additional treatment may be required for you and your baby
- to screen for other conditions as appropriate.
- an ultrasound to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and also how many babies you may be having.
A urine sample will be requested to check possible unrecognised urinary tract infection.
Your GP will discuss and arrange a follow up appointment with them to review these results.
Early screening (1st trimester)
All women are offered genetic screening tests to see if your baby has a number of conditions. This test can assist if further tests and medical care is required for you and your baby, but also options for ongoing pregnancies
The First Trimester Screening Test involves screening for genetic conditions like Down Syndrome, which involves a blood test at 10 to 13 weeks, followed by an ultrasound scan of the back of your baby's neck at 11 to 13+6 weeks. This test is usually discussed and arranged via your local GP.
The scan is currently only available at the WCH if you are expecting twins or over 37 years old, but you can arrange for it to be done at a private radiology or ultrasound practice, in which case you will be charged a fee in addition to the Medicare rebate.
At 14 – 20 weeks
If you are 14 – 19 weeks pregnant and have not been able to complete the 1st trimester screening test but wish to have genetic screening test , you may choose to have a single blood sample taken to screen for Spina Bifida or Down Syndrome known as the second trimester screening test, or MSST. Your GP may carry out this test, or this can be discussed at your first visit with the midwife.
Other genetic screening tests available
Your GP may discuss with you other options for genetic screening tests that are available. Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing, also known as NIPT, NEST or Harmony Test. It is a single blood test, but is not Medicare rebated. The NIPT is another option for carrying out testing for genetic conditions, such as Down Syndrome. Please consult your local GP or midwife for more information.
At 18 – 20 weeks
Women are offered an ultrasound scan called the Morphology Ultrasound, which is best carried out at 18 – 20 weeks to see
- whether you are having more than one baby
- to review the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby
- how your baby is growing and developing
- to check the position of the placenta
- to exclude some, but not all types of abnormality.
It may be possible to determine the sex of your baby (if you wish to know) though the test is not always correct.
It is necessary to bring a request form, completed by the hospital staff or your GP.
At 26 – 28 weeks
Women are offered to complete a blood test to ensure you are not suffering from anaemia in pregnancy, haven’t developed any red cell antibodies, and check if you have developed diabetes in pregnancy called Gestational Diabetes (high blood sugar levels). Testing for Gestational diabetes involves blood tests and drinking a glucose drink, this test will take up to two hours to complete.
At 36 weeks
Women are offered a test which is testing for a bacteria called Group B streptococcus, and if it is present in the vagina. A virginal swab test is taken, we encourage women to do this themselves, but a midwife or doctor can assist you if required.