We know that pregnancy outcomes are better for women who have regular antenatal visits. The aim is to make sure that the pregnancy is progressing normally and to pick up on any potential complications. The first visit is usually 8-10 weeks into your pregnancy. This first visit will be important to identify any specific concerns and to plan the rest of the pregnancy. Usually after this, you will have monthly visits until 28 weeks, then fortnightly visits until 36 weeks and weekly visits after that. At every visit, an ultrasound will be performed. For the 11-13 week Down’s screening ultrasound and the 20 week morphology ultrasound you will be referred to a specialist centre in Townsville.
Routine Blood Tests
- Hepatitis B and C
- Haemoglobin (to exclude anaemia)
- Blood Group and Antibodies
- Thyroid Function Tests
- Urine Test
Down’s Screening Test:
There are three tests to check for chromosomal or anatomical abnormalities with your baby. From 10 weeks onwards you can have a non invasive prenatal test (NIPT). This is a blood test where baby’s cells in your blood sample can be checked for a few chromosomal abnormalities. Between 11 and 13 weeks you can have a test to screen for Down’s syndrome and other anatomical abnormalities. You will have a blood test and an ultrasound scan to check the nuchal fold in the baby. Together, this information gives you a risk assessment whether your baby is having any of these abnormalities. It is a non-invasive test. If either of these tests come back as high risk you can then decide to have an invasive test such as an amniocentesis or CVS (chorionic villus sampling) for a definite diagnosis. We will discuss all the advantages and disadvantages if this would be the case.
This is usually performed around 27 – 28 weeks.
The Glucose Tolerance Test will screen for pregnancy induced diabetes. For the test you need to fast (no food or drink overnight). A blood test will be performed at the start of the test. You will then drink a sweet drink and 2 more blood tests will be performed at 1 and 2 hours after this. If this test is abnormal (glucose levels too high) you will be diagnosed with pregnancy induced Diabetes.
At 34-36 weeks, we will check again whether you have developed anaemia. Any further blood test or ultrasounds will be on an individual basis.
Antenatal classes are organised and run by the Mater Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Hyde Park. We would strongly recommend you to book in and attend these classes.