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Pre-natal Checkups & Tests

Antenatal tests required

A normal pregnancy lasts between 38 and 42 weeks.  It is recommended to go for pregnancy check-ups every four weeks until you are 28 weeks pregnant.  Thereafter once every two weeks are recommended until you are 36 weeks pregnant and then weekly check-ups until your delivery date.

Your first pregnancy visit to the gynecologist
It is a good idea to visit your gynecologist once your home pregnancy test confirms that you are pregnant. 

During this first visit the following will be done:
1.  A blood test to
Confirm that you are pregnant;
Establish your blood group;
Establish your immunity to rubella
Establish whether you are anaemic or not
2.  A pap smear
3.  Blood pressure will be checked
4.  Weight and height will be checked
5.  A Rh factor test will be performed
6.  Haemoglobin level will be checked
7.  You may request to be tested for Syphilis and HIV

What to expect during routine check-ups

Urine testing
Urine is tested for protein, which may be an early indication of pre-eclampsia.  Urine is also checked to detect signs of bladder and urinary infections that can lead to premature labour and pregnancy complications if left untreated.  Urine is also checked for signs of diabetes.  A mild form of diabetes can sometimes develop during pregnancy, only to disappear again after the birth of your baby.

Blood pressure
Your blood pressure will be monitored throughout your pregnancy and generally pregnant women have low blood pressure.  Blood pressure reading is also used as a tool to look for early warning signals of pre-eclampsia.

Weight
Your weight will be monitored carefully as a sudden increase in weight might indicate diabetes or preclampsia.  The recommended total weight gain during pregnancy is as follows:
If you are underweight: 12.5 – 18 kg;
If you are normal weight: 11.5 – 16 kg;
If you are overweight: 7 – 11 kg

Ultrasound scan
This scan will allow the parents to “see” their growing baby and how he develops during pregnancy.  Doctors use the Ultrasound scan to examine your baby and take measurements and also to look at the placenta to check its size and position.  The growth rate of the bay is assessed by the measurements of the baby and the circumference of his head.

At about 12 weeks you might be given your fist ultrasound to observe the fetal heart beat and to measure the nuchal folds at the back of the baby’s neck, which may indicate the presence of Down’s syndrome.

At about 16 weeks the ultrasound will be used to detect the presence of fetal abnormalities, such as heart defects, intestinal and kidney malformations.  A triple blood test, known as Maternal Serum Triple test, is used as a screening tool to establish a risk factor for Down’s syndrome, spina bifida and other chromosomal disorders.  Depending on the risk, further resting such as Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis may be recommended.
A Nuchal Translucency Scan in done whereby the collection of fluid at the back of your baby’s neck is measured.  A high reading may point to abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome or heart defects.

At 20 weeks an amniocentesis may be preformed if the blood test indicated a high risk for chromosomal disorders.

At 36 weeks a vaginal examination and pelvic assessment may be carried out to the assess the size of the pelvis.
 

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