Routine Antenatal Tests

As part of your antenatal care, a specimen of blood is taken and used for several tests which are necessary for your health and for the health of your baby during pregnancy. This leaflet explains the significance and value of these routine tests. Please take time to read this information and note any questions you may have to raise them with the midwife or doctor who attends you.

Blood Grouping
This gives us information about your blood group: * Whether you belong to Group A, B, O or AB * Whether your blood is Rhesus Positive or Rhesus Negative, and * Whether there are any unexpected red cell antibodies as a result of previous transfusion or pregnancy If you are Rhesus Negative, you will require an injection called “Anti-D” if you bleed or if you have any invasive treatments during pregnancy. This injection may also be given to you after delivery.

RUBELLA (German Measles)
Babies are at risk of abnormalities if a mother has rubella infection in the first three months of pregnancy. Most women are now immune to rubella, having already been vaccinated at school. This test will confirm that you have a good level of immunity. If, however, you are in contact with someone with a rubella-like illness, you must report this to your GP without delay. A repeat vaccination after delivery may be required.

This is a virus which infects the liver and which can remain in the blood for many years without any sign of illness. The Department of Health recommends that all pregnant women are screened for this virus because if the mother is a carrier, the infection can be passed on to the newborn. Immunisation can be started at birth to prevent infection of these babies and allow them to grow up as healthy children.

Although this infection is not very common in this region, it can occur with no specific signs of illness, at least in the early phase, and can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, at delivery or through breast-feeding. Infection from mother to child can be greatly reduced by newer forms of treatment of mothers during pregnancy and of newborn babies. The Department of Health recommends offering this test routinely, and encouraging all pregnant women to have it. A negative HIV test does not affect past or future life assurance claims.

This disease is now rare. However, we recommend testing for it because, when untreated, this infection can seriously damage the baby. Treatment of the mother with penicillin will control the infection and prevent her baby developing serious effects. FOLLOW UP If there are any problems with any of these routine tests you will be recalled to the clinic and all the necessary information will be given to you, as well as advice regarding follow up and best management.

Random Blood Glucose
Some women develop a problem with sugar or glucose control in their blood stream during pregnancy. There fore we offer screening for this problem called gestational diabetes at 28 weeks. However, you may be offered a test at an earlier stage of pregnancy if you have many risk factors present that make it more likely you may develop the disease. If you have an abnormal test then this may lead to a big baby. By treating you with insulin we know we can reduce though not eliminate this risk. Furthermore, the chances of you developing diabetes after pregnancy is also increased so you will need at least yearly check ups with your own GP after pregnancy.

Group B Streptococcus swab
We offer a swab for every patient who reaches 36 weeks of pregnancy to detect this bacteria. This bacteria normally lives in the vagina but in 1 in 1000 cases can cause the baby to become very sick in the first week of life. By swabbing the lower part of your vagina at this stage will help us to identify babies at risk of this disease. The treatment for the baby is that will be swabbed at birth but you will receive antibiotics during labour to ensure that the baby is able to combat the infection. We donot know why some babies are more suseptible to the infection than others but we know that screening and treating women who are carriers for the bug during labour reduces the risk for the infection.


July 2014

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