Tests, Scans and Checks

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Throughout your pregnancy journey, your health care professional will recommend tests and procedures to check you and your baby’s health.

A Guide to All Your Visits

Download a copy of the Pregnancy Passport to guide your visits to the doctor or midwife.

Urine Test, Blood Pressure and Weight Checks

  • You can expect on most visits throughout your pregnancy to have a routine urine test, blood pressure check and weight check.
  • Your urine is checked for any sugar, protein or urinary tract infections.
  • Your blood pressure is monitored throughout the pregnancy to ensure it is safe for you and the baby.
  • Your weight is monitored to ensure optimal growth and health for you and the baby.  Learn more about healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Blood Tests

In your 1st trimester (0-14 weeks), a blood test will be taken to check your blood type, Rh type, and antibody screen - test for syphilis, HIV (recommended), hepatitis and protective levels against rubella (German measles).

If your initial blood test notes that you are Rh-negative a shot of Rh-immune globulin will be given around 28 weeks.

Ultrasounds

  • Ultrasounds are used to check the development and position of the baby.
  • The timing and number of ultrasounds may vary from woman to woman.
  • It is now recommended that all women receive an early ultrasound to confirm the due date, even if you know the date of your last menstrual period.
  • Another ultrasound is performed around 18-20 weeks to take detailed pictures of the baby’s growth and development.
  • If you’re curious about the gender, book your ultrasound closer to 20 weeks.
  • Some women may have additional ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy to check the fluid around the baby, placement of the placenta, position of the baby, and signs of a possible genetic problem.

Prenatal Genetic Screening

Early in your 1st trimester of pregnancy, your health care provider will give you the option to have a test done to screen your baby for an increased risk of Down’s syndrome, Trisomy 18 and Open neural tube defects (ONTD).

Prenatal genetic screening generally involves two blood tests, one in the 1st trimester and one in the 2nd. For some women, they may also need an ultrasound in the 1st trimester. These tests will only tell you your chance of having a baby with one of these conditions and do not tell you that your baby will be born with one of the conditions listed.

To learn more about making an informed decision, visit BC Prenatal Genetic Screening Program.

Glucose Screening Test

The glucose screening test (GTT) is a test done between 24-26 weeks of pregnancy to check for developing gestational (pregnancy) diabetes. This screening test is important because you may have gestational diabetes even if you have no history of diabetes in your family, are not overweight, and eat a healthy diet.

Pregnancy and insulin levels

Pregnancy can affect how the body releases insulin, which is used to break down sugar. In gestational diabetes, this extra sugar is made available to your baby and can result in several easily avoided complications simply by controlling the diet (for most women) for the remainder of the pregnancy. Only a small group of women require insulin injections. Most gestational diabetes will resolve after pregnancy.

What to expect during your test

The screening test will be ordered by your health care practitioner. You may be asked to fast overnight then ingest a special glucose solution at the lab. You will be required to wait (2 hours) at the clinic to have a blood test done. Bring a book with you and leave children at home if possible.

If your test shows that you may have gestational diabetes, you will be referred to one of the diabetes clinics in Fraser Health where you will be followed by an endocrinologist (a physician who specializes in diabetes in pregnancy), a nurse and nutritionist. There you will learn about diabetes in pregnancy and receive support.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Between 35-37 weeks, a swab is taken from the vagina and anus to test for GBS, a bacteria found in the vagina and large bowel of 15-20% of healthy pregnant women. This bacteria has no effect on most women.

When babies pass through the birth canal of a mother who has GBS, they are at risk of developing serious, life threatening infections. To prevent this from happening, women who test positive are given intravenous (IV) antibiotics when their water breaks or when they are in labour.

Banking Umbilical Cord Blood

After your baby is born, blood found in the umbilical cord can be saved for the future to treat children or their family members that are suffering from deadly diseases that include some types of cancers. The blood found in the umbilical cord contains high numbers of stem cells. Use this decision support tool to help you decide if cord blood banking is right for you.

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