Check-Ups And Tests During Pregnancy
Welcome and thank you for listening!
While pregnancy is a natural process and not an illness, regular check-ups are important.
Whether you go to a state pregnancy clinic, consult your doctor throughout your pregnancy, or prefer to see a private midwife, you should see a practitioner regularly, and you will be offered a host of tests. Here’s what to expect:
Put these check-ups in your calendar
It’s important to get regular antenatal care. According to the policies adopted by the South African Department of Health (based on the latest recommendations from the World Health Organization), if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you should visit your practitioner or clinic:
- Towards the end of the first trimester
- At 20, 26, 30 and 34 weeks
- Thereafter, every two weeks (36, 38 and 40 weeks)
As you get closer to your due date, your caregiver may want to see you more often, and extra visits may be scheduled for pregnancies that need special care (e.g. moms-to-be with a medical condition). If you experience any serious symptoms, like vaginal bleeding, see your doctor immediately.
Types of tests
Before falling pregnant, it is a good idea to have a blood test to determine whether or not you have antibodies to rubella (German measles). If not, you will be offered a vaccine to lessen your chances of contracting the disease. Rubella can cause miscarriage, preterm birth, or stillbirth, as well as birth defects if Baby is infected while in the womb.
During pregnancy, there are a number of tests that can be done at different stages. Some are routine, some need your permission, and some are only done if there is a potential problem. Private sector medical facilities usually offer more tests than the truly necessary ones done at public health facilities.
Common tests include:
- Regular blood pressure tests
- Regular urine tests to check for bladder or kidney infections, preeclampsia and other disorders
- A blood test at the first consultation to check for anaemia
- A blood test to check your blood group and Rhesus factor (positive or negative)
- A blood test to check your HIV status, as well as any other sexually transmitted diseases
- A blood test called the Triple Test done at 12–16 weeks to screen for Down syndrome and other genetic conditions