The aim of antenatal care is to safeguard the health and well-being of both mother and baby during pregnancy. It enables obstetricians to identify potential problems in the early stages of pregnancy which, if not addressed or treated, could result in increased risk for mother and baby.
The initial antenatal visit is often the first time a woman has a detailed medical history and physical examination recorded with specific laboratory testing. The visit can provide information about the woman which may alter the management of her pregnancy and provide for her long-term health care. Prior knowledge of a woman's medical history or family background can also assist the obstetrician.
Following are the tests done:-
- Complete Blood Count - This test measures the amount of haemoglobin in the red blood cells. A white cell count will also be conducted. This test will give some information about anaemia and iron deficiency
- Blood group and Rh - which determine the woman's blood group (A, B, AB or O) and if the blood is positive or negative for the Rhesus (Rh) factor. If the woman's blood is Rh(D) negative, then problems may arise if her baby's blood is Rh(D) positive. Women who are Rh(D) negative are tested again for the presence of positive anti-bodies later in pregnancy
- Glucose, Fasting & PP - To rule out gestational diabetes, a high blood sugar condition that some women get during pregnancy.
- VDRL - If detected, syphilis needs to be treated in the mother for her health and well-being and to protect the baby from infection
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) - If a woman tests positive for HIV, treatment during pregnancy can reduce the risk of infection being passed to the baby
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C screening tests
- Urine test, which tests for urinary tract infection
- Haemoglobin Electrophoresis - for Haemoglobinopathy screening (Thalassaemia) in at risk women.
- Rubella (German measles) IgG and IgM - The blood is tested for antibodies from a previous rubella infection or vaccination
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) - Ensuring a healthy pregnancy is sometimes a stressful, intensive process. Monitoring your hormone levels is an important component of this. The addition of two extra hormones, hCG and estrogen, affects levels of TSH, so closely monitoring TSH levels throughout the entire pregnancy is important.