FAQs on Screening

During your pregnancy you will be offered a range of tests and scans to monitor the progress of your pregnancy as well as to identify any potential risks that could cause complications.

Below are some answers to common questions relating to tests and scans during pregnancy.

What are some common tests and scans I can expect during pregnancy?

  • First trimester – you can expect:
    • hCG test – urine or blood test
    • Routine maternal health tests, such as hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HIV, rubella, anaemia, etc
    • Combined First Trimester Screening (CFTS) and/ or Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

To find out more about these tests and scans, you can read about them in the First Trimester page.

  • Second trimester – you can expect:
    • Morphology or Anatomy scan
    • Test for anaemia and iron deficiency
    • Glucose tolerance test

To find out more about these tests and scans, you can read about them in the Second Trimester page.

  • Third trimester – you can expect:
    • Test for anaemia and iron deficiency
    • Group B streptococcus swab – Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria sometimes found in the intestines and vagina, which if present, can cause the baby to become infected just before or during labour.
      • A swab from just inside the vagina is taken to test for the bacteria at around 36th week of pregnancy.
      • If GBS is present on the vaginal swabs only, an IV antibiotic will be given during labour.
      • If GBS is found in a urine sample, at any stage of the pregnancy, a course of antibiotic will be given at the time of diagnosis. An IV antibiotic will also be required during labour.

Do I need a full bladder when I go for my scans?

During your first trimester of pregnancy, when your baby is still very small, you will be asked to drink enough fluid so that your bladder is full just prior to having an abdominal scan.

By having a full bladder, it enables the sonographer to see your baby better.

If you are very early on in your pregnancy (less than 10 weeks), you may also be offered a vaginal scan, in which case you will be asked to empty your bladder after the abdominal scan.

Are scans painful?

Ultrasound scans are painless and there is minimal risk to your baby. It involves the sonographer putting gel on your abdomen and then using a hand-held scanning device to obtain images of your baby. The only discomfort you may experience is from having full bladder (in the early scans).

Why do I have to have blood tests in pregnancy?

Blood tests, similar to scans, enable your healthcare team to monitor your progress in pregnancy and also to identify potential risk factors that may cause complications in your pregnancy.

  • Finding out your blood group – there are four blood groups (A, B, AB and O), within each blood group you can be either positive or negative – this is known as your ‘Rhesus factor’
    • Knowing your blood group can be helpful in case you require additional blood during pregnancy or labour.
    • If your blood is Rhesus negative and your partner’s blood type is either not known or is Rhesus positive, then you will need an injection at 28 and 34 weeks containing an anti-D immunoglobulin
      • The injection prevents a condition called Rhesus disease in your baby, which can potentially lead to brain damage.
    • Routine maternal health tests, such as hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HIV, rubella, anaemia, etc
    • Combined First Trimester Screening (CFTS) and/ or Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
  • Testing for infections – screen for certain infections which could impact your baby such as HIV, rubella, hepatitis B and C as well as syphilis

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