Pregnancy (Antenatal Care)
Starting On Antenatal Care
Antenatal care refers to the care pregnant mothers receive from an obstetrician throughout the course of their pregnancy.
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, see an obstetrician as soon as you can. One of the first tests in your first trimester is a dating and viability ultrasound scan to:
- Ensure that your baby is in the right place and position i.e. not an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening
- Determine your estimated due date (EDD)
- Check for number of babies
- Baby’s growth and development
At this stage, you will be able to hear your baby’s very first sign of life – their heartbeat.
In addition, your obstetrician will counsel you on the risk of genetic problems such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards syndrome or Patau syndrome, all of which increases dramatically if the mother’s age is above 35. These genetic conditions can be screened for using some non-invasive tests.
What are some of the non-invasive blood tests that can be performed during pregnancy?
- OSCAR test – taking the mother’s blood to assess the baby’s enzymes or hormones to calculate the risk of getting Down’s Syndrome
- Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT), which detects placental cells from the mother’s blood to assess the baby’s DNA to check for chromosomal abnormalities and even the gender of the baby. The blood samples will then be sent to laboratories in the US and results will be available in approximately 7- 10 days
- If the above screening test results are positive, a Chorionic Villus Sampling (an invasive test to sample the placenta) or amniocentesis (sampling of the amniotic fluid) will be performed to analyse and determine the baby’s chromosomes in detail