|Tests Ordered at First Prenatal Visit|
Ideally, a woman should have a medical check-up before
in order to discuss special care during pregnancy and the need for . If this is not possible then the first prenatal visit should
be as soon as possible after becoming pregnant.
During the visit the doctor will ask about past illnesses, pregnancies,
and as well as
recording a history of diseases in the mother's and her partner's family.
Weight and blood pressure as well as a to evaluate the size and structure of the ,
confirm the age of the foetus, and evaluate the size of the pubic bone.
If the mother-to-be suffers from , the doctor should be fully informed before conception. Also
certain used to treat
some diseases, may also pose a risk for the baby and the doctor should
A number of screening tests are routinely ordered during the first and
subsequent prenatal visits. The table below lists the main tests performed
at each stage of pregnancy.
| Stage of
Tests (When Indicated)
| First prenatal visit
screen, haemoglobin and hematocrit, , ,
culture, , and .
| 8-18 weeks
The latter 2 tests are recommended if the due date falls
after the mother's 35th birthday, due to the risk of Down
| 24-28 weeks
and hematocrit, glucose challenge test for
(especially if the mother is 30+), and Rh antibody screening
(if Rh negative).
| 32-36 weeks
syphilis, gonorrhoea culture, and haemoglobin and hematocrit.
for those at risk of infection.
- Sickle-cell anaemia and/or thalassemia tests for
depending on ethnic origin.
- and/or ,
if judged necessary.
- may be recommended, if there is a
possibility of a that may be transmitted to the offspring.
After the initial examination, the doctor will probably want to see you
about once a month until the 7th month, and then every 2 to 3 weeks in
the 8th month, and every week during the last month. If it is a high-risk
pregnancy more frequent visits will be required.
During these follow-up visits the doctor will measure blood pressure,
record the mother's weight and the growth of the uterus, as well as performing
a dipstick urine test to screen for abnormal levels of proteins and glucose.
The baby's heartbeat, which can usually be heard by the 12th week of pregnancy,
will also be monitored. The doctor will usually ask about the baby's movements
and, if they appear to slow down, may order an
exam or .
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
The Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to
Medical Tests, Barry L. Zaret M.D., Senior Editor, published by Houghton Mifflin.
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