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Pregnancy Guide
NHS Choices

Routine Checks and Tests

Antenatal checks and tests

During your pregnancy, you'll be offered a range of tests, including blood tests and ultrasound scans. These tests are designed to check and assess the development and wellbeing of you and your baby, and screen for particular conditions.

You don't have to have any of the tests. However, it's important to understand the purpose of all tests so that you can make an informed decision about whether to have them. Discuss this with your maternity team. You'll be given written information about the screening tests on offer. This is also available online at the Antenatal Screening Wales website.

Weight and height checks in pregnancy

You will be weighed at your booking appointment, but you won't be weighed regularly during your pregnancy. Your height and weight are used to calculate your BMI (body mass index). Women who are overweight for their height are at increased risk of problems during pregnancy - you can find out more about being overweight when you get pregnant.

Most women gain 10-12.5kg (22-28lb) in pregnancy, most of it after they are 20 weeks pregnant. Much of the extra weight is due to your baby growing, but your body also stores fat for making breast milk after the birth. During your pregnancy, it's important to eat the right foods and take regular exercise.

Antenatal urine tests

You'll be asked to give a urine sample at all of your antenatal appointments. Your urine is tested for several things, including protein or albumin. If this is found in your urine, it may mean that you have an infection that needs to be treated. It may also be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia affects 5% of pregnancies, and can lead to a variety of problems, including seizures (fits). If left untreated it can be life threatening. Pre-eclampsia can also affect the growth and health of your baby. Women with the condition usually feel perfectly well.

Blood pressure tests in pregnancy

Your blood pressure will be taken at every antenatal visit. A rise in blood pressure later in pregnancy could be a sign of pregnancy-induced hypertension. It's very common for your blood pressure to be lower in the middle of your pregnancy than at other times. This isn't a problem, but it may make you feel light-headed if you get up quickly. Talk to your midwife if you're concerned about it. Find out more about high blood pressure and pregnancy.

Blood tests in pregnancy

As part of your antenatal care you'll be offered several blood tests. Some are offered to all women, and some are offered only if you might be at risk of a particular infection or condition. All the tests are done to check that you and your baby are healthy.  You don't have to have them if you don't want to. Talk to your midwife or doctor, and allow yourself enough time to decide. They will also give you written information about the tests. Below is an outline of all the tests that can be offered.

The blood tests you may be offered include:-

Diabetes

You may be at higher risk of developing diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes) if you are overweight, you've had diabetes in pregnancy before, you have a close relative with diabetes or you're of south east Asian, black Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin.

If you're considered to be high risk for gestational diabetes, you may be offered tests in pregnancy including blood tests.

Read more about gestational diabetes.

Anaemia

Anaemia makes you tired and less able to cope with loss of blood when you give birth. If tests show that you're anaemic, you'll probably be given iron and folic acid.

Antenatal Screening Wales

This page is about screening tests that are offered in pregnancy as part of the Antenatal Screening Wales programme. Further information for all these screening tests can be found here  Please click on the links to go directly to the information you want:

 


Last Updated: 08/11/2017 13:27:07