Your guide to screening tests in pregnancy

Screen time: there are many pregnancy appointments you need to lock in your diary. Image: Getty

6 weeks

Congratulations, you fertile fox! Assuming you’ve already peed on a stick (the first test of many) to see a positive reading, your next step is to make an appointment with your family GP to confirm your pregnancy. Book a long appointment because your βhCG levels will be checked to indicate you are indeed expecting and this will be done via blood test (also some doctors will also insist on another urine sample while you’re there).

Fact: a test of βhCG levels in your blood can be accurate within one week or so after conception).

At this appointment, you will also be offered a full blood examination which will not only confirm your blood type, check your rubella and chicken pox immunity and also scan for various infections such as anaemia, HIV, hepatitis B or STIs such as syphilis. If you have any other health concerns, it’s a good idea to speak openly with your doctor so they know what to else they should be screening for.

9 – 10 weeks

Concerns about potential chromosomal problems can mar the first few weeks of pregnancy, and if it’s something that’s keeping you awake at night, it could be worth opting for a Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT). This relatively new screening test can scan for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome, and all it takes is a simple blood test which is then send off-shore for analysis (although more and more Australian labs are now doing analysis so it’s becoming…

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