Prenatal care


Pregnancy Ultrasound

Based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, we recommend women have at least three ultrasounds during each pregnancy.

1st trimester ultrasound: performed at 11-13 weeks gestation.  This scan provides accurate dating of the pregnancy and estimated delivery date, diagnosis of multiple pregnancies, early pregnancy failure, detection of some physical abnormalities and detection of chromosomal abnormalities (including Down syndrome).

2nd trimester ultrasound: performed at 20-24 weeks gestation.  This scan allows measurement of your baby; examination of the placenta and amniotic fluid, both of which can help identify any complications with the pregnancy; and examination of your baby's organs, including the brain, the spine, the heart and the limbs, which helps with the diagnosis of any congenital abnormalities.

3rd trimester ultrasound: performed at 30-32 weeks gestation.  This scan aims to determine the growth and health of your baby by measuring the fetal head, abdomen and thigh bone and calculating the estimated fetal weight; examining the placental position and appearance; and measuring the amount of amniotic fluid.  These measurements and examinations help detect any potential risk of obstetric complications.

Early pregnancy testing

There are two types of tests that can confirm pregnancy. A qualitative hCG test detects the presence of hormone in the urine. This test is not 100% accurate; it can give both false positive and false negativee results. A quantitative hCG test; which measures the amount of hCG in the blood is more accurate. This test is used to estimate the gestation of the pregnancy but can also help in the detection of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that does not grow in the uterus), miscarriage, threatened miscarriage and other possible complications and non-pregnancy related medical conditions.

Prenatal care

High-quality prenatal care helps you determine your health and pregnancy status; screens for risk factors; and helps prevent complications during your pregnancy and delivery.  It is recommended that every woman have at least three prenatal checkups during her pregnancy.

There are several different important components to your prenatal care.  Firstly, your doctor will ask you about your pregnancy history, your medical history and your family history.  Your doctor asks these questions so that they can determine if you are at risk of any pregnancy complications.

Your prenatal care also includes physical examinations and ultrasounds.  Having regular ultrasounds helps to determine that your pregnancy is in the uterus, the number of pregnancies, the gestational age of your pregnancy, the fetal growth status and the estimated date of delivery.  Regular ultrasounds are also necessary in order to identify any possible issues with the pregnancy such as early defects or genetic disorders and allow timely management of these issues.

A few basic tests are also an important part of your prenatal care.  There are several blood tests that we recommend to all pregnant women.  These include: a full blood count, blood group/Rhesus status, glucose, and syphilis/HIV/hepatitis.  These tests are all essential to ensuring the health of both you and your baby during pregnancy.  Urine tests for protein and sugar are also recommended to screen for any possible complications.  Your doctor will also discuss with you any vaccinations that you may require during your prenatal care.

You doctor will also provide important information about staying healthy throughout your pregnancy, with tips on diet and exercise, and physical, psychological and emotional health, to help you prepare for the birth of your baby and be a healthy and happy mother.

Your doctor will discuss with you all recommended components of your prenatal care.  They will ensure you are fully aware of all aspects of your care and will not perform any tests or examinations without your consent.  If you have any concerns about our prenatal care, please discuss them with your doctor.