Antenatal care aims to monitor the health and well-being of both mother and baby during pregnancy. It allows the doctor to identify potential problems or risk areas (if any) in the early stages of pregnancy. If problems arise and are not addressed or taken care of, it could put the mother and baby at risk. Each visit or screening test allows doctors keep track of the pregnancy more closely by ensuring that both mother and baby are doing well.
A dating/viability scan confirms a pregnancy and establish an estimated due date (EDD). The scan checks for the presence of the embryo’s heartbeat and reveals how many embryos have been implanted to the uterus. Through this scan, you’ll also be able to find out the size of the sac (or the embryo), which confirms the gestational age of the pregnancy.
This first trimester scan also helps to reassure mothers of their baby’s well-being in the womb, especially in cases of bleeding and spotting.
Antenatal Screening blood test
Blood tests are a routine part of your antenatal care. The antenatal screening blood test is necessary as it provides both you and your doctor essential information about your health, in addition to scanning for any abnormalities in your blood.
Your first blood test (at your first antenatal visit during the first or second month of pregnancy) will include the ABO group blood test. This test checks for your group type and the presence of antibodies that are part of your immune system. Certain antibodies could harm your baby during pregnancy. If antibodies are found to be harming the baby, appropriate management and treatment will be recommended by your doctor.
Haematology is conducted to examine three main types of cells in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. This will determine if there is any blood disorder in the mother, which could potentially affect the baby.
The blood test also screens for Hepatitis B, Rubella (German measles) and sexually transmitted diseases such as STD, HIV and Syphilis.
First Trimester Screening (FTS) for Down’s Syndrome
The first trimester screening (FTS) for Down’s Syndrome has a high track record of detecting chromosomal abnormalities in 90% of high-risk pregnancies. This screening test is also commonly known as “OSCAR”, which stands for “One-Stop-Clinic-For-Assessment-of-Risk”. A software is used to identify whether the fetus is at risk of having Down’s Syndrome.
If the result reports a high risk probability, future tests and procedures will be conducted to manage the condition of both mother and baby. However, do note that a normal screening result (screen negative) is not a guarantee that your baby will not have Down’s Syndrome; It merely suggests that it is unlikely for your baby to be born with this condition.