Pregnancy checkups, screenings and scans
Knowing what check-ups, screenings and scans to possess and when to possess them during your pregnancy is vital information for each pregnant woman. On these pages you will find details on what is involved in your antenatal care, from ultrasounds and other standard tests to what’s involved in screening for Down syndrome and neural tube defects including spina bifida.
Antenatal care during your pregnancy
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, it’s important to ascertain your GP or a midwife as soon as possible so you'll schedule the appointments you'll need. Appointments during your pregnancy are called your antenatal appointments or antenatal care.
Why go to antenatal appointments?
Antenatal appointments will allow your GP, midwife and people on your healthcare team to assist both you and your baby stay healthy. Even if your pregnancy is going well and you’re feeling well, it’s important for you to attend your appointments so that any potential risks can be identified and prevented, or reduced.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you've got about your pregnancy like what’s happening during each trimester, physical pregnancy symptoms and therefore the birth itself. You may want to ask questions about caring for your baby after the birth.
You can also get support to help you with your lifestyle, including mental health or dietary advice, or help quitting smoking or avoiding drinking alcohol. You can discuss any problems you might be having at home.
Routine antenatal tests
During your pregnancy, you’ll be offered a variety of tests, including blood tests and ultrasound scans. These tests are designed to see for love or money which will cause a drag during your pregnancy or after the birth.
You don’t have to have the tests. However, it’s important to understand the purpose of the tests you’ll be offered so that you can make an informed decision about whether to have them. You should discuss them together with your maternity team and you ought to tend written information about the screening tests offered.
Blood tests during pregnancy
As a part of your antenatal care you’ll be offered several blood tests. Some are offered to all or any women, and a few are only offered if you would possibly be in danger of a specific infection or inherited condition.
All the tests are done to see for love or money which will cause a drag during your pregnancy or after the birth, or to see that your baby is healthy, but you don’t have to have them if you don’t want to.
Talk to your midwife or doctor and provides yourself enough time to form your decision. They should also give you written information about the tests. Below is an outline of all the tests that can be offered.
Ultrasound scans use sound waves to make an image of your baby in your womb. The picture will be displayed on a screen that you will be able to see. Most scans are performed by a trained healthcare professional called a sonographer. These scans are painless and there are no risks to you or your baby.
How is an ultrasound done?
Most ultrasounds that are done after 10 weeks of pregnancy are performed abdominally. The sonographer will place some gel on your belly, and will rub a hand-held device called a transducer across your belly to obtain a picture of your unborn baby.
For an abdominal ultrasound during your first trimester, you may need to drink a few glasses of water. This is so your full bladder will push your uterus up out of your pelvis, allowing the baby to be seen clearly in the ultrasound images.
Sometimes the sonographer needs to perform a vaginal ultrasound. The probe used for this doesn't got to enter very deep, so most girls find that it fits comfortably inside the vagina. This might be recommended if:
Ø You are less than 8 weeks’ pregnant
Ø You are overweight
Ø The baby is deep inside your abdomen
How much do ultrasounds cost?
There’s no simple answer. Medicare covers some of the costs of ultrasounds but not others. Some private health insurance schemes cover some of the costs. Before having an ultrasound, check the costs with your doctor, your midwife or the person doing the ultrasound.
Do I even have to possess ultrasound scans during my pregnancy?
It is your choice whether or not you've got ultrasound scans during your pregnancy. Many women find it reassuring to know if they have a healthy pregnancy and to help prepare for the birth. If any abnormalities are seen, it's going to even be possible to rearrange immediate specialist care to assist manage your pregnancy and steel oneself against the birth.
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