We know that pregnancy outcomes are better for women who have regular antenatal visits than for women who have few if any 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 around 12 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.
The routine blood tests:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Haemoglobin (to exclude anaemia)
- Blood Group and antibodies
- Thyroid Function tests (if over 30 years old)
- Urine Test
Down’s Screening Test
Between 11 and 13 weeks you can have a test to screen for Down’s syndrome and other 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 regarding your baby having any of these abnormalities. It is a non-invasive test. If the test comes back as high risk you can then decide to have an invasive test such as a CVS or an amniocentesis for a definite diagnosis. We will discuss all the advantages and disadvantages if this would be the case.
This is usually performed around 26 – 28 weeks.
There is a screening test to check for pregnancy-induced diabetes that is called the Glucose Challenge test. You are not required to fast. The laboratory will give you a sweet drink containing glucose. One hour later your blood is taken and your glucose level is checked. If your blood sugar level is abnormal you will need a two hour Glucose Tolerance Test
For the Glucose Tolerance 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 at 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.