Wondering what's involved in early visits to your doctor or midwife?
Here's an overview of what to expect.
Early pregnancy visits are usually the longest. Your healthcare provider will record a detailed physical history, perform a physical examination and encourage you to take prenatal supplements, such as folic acid to reduce the risk of open neural tube birth defects.
You can also expect to undergo a series of tests and check-ups, such as:
- pregnancy test
- detailed medical history including lifestyle factors, such as alcohol, drugs and tobacco, physical activity and nutrition
- complete checkup that includes:
- listening to your heart
- taking your blood pressure
- measuring your height and weight
- abdominal examination
- pelvic exam that may include a Pap test or vaginal swab to inspect your cervix and check for infections
- blood tests
- to check complete blood count (includes hemoglobin and iron levels)
- to confirm blood group, Rh type, and antibody screen
- to test exposure to syphilis
- to screen for HIV (recommended)
- to test for hepatitis
- to test for rubella (German measles) antibody
- prenatal genetic screening blood tests and/or special ultrasounds (optional)
- blood test done between 10-14 weeks to tell you the chance of your baby developing a genetic abnormality
- urine tests to check for any sugar, protein, and urinary tract infections
Prenatal Genetic Screening
Prenatal genetic screening is an optional blood test availablefor all pregnant women in British Columbia. This screening indicates the chance of your baby having Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect. The earlier you see your healthcare provider, the more options you will have.
Keep in mind:
- Most women who have a prenatal screen find that chances are low for these conditions.
- Although some women will screen positive, most won’t have a baby with one of these conditions.
- Prenatal screening detects most, but not all, babies with these conditions.
- Sometimes prenatal screening detects other medical conditions in your baby.
- No test detects every type of physical or mental condition.
For more information, talk to your healthcare provider or visit the BC Prenatal Genetic Screening Program website.
Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Birth Defect Testing