I’m pregnant, now what?
After the news has sunk in, it’s probably time to organise an appointment with your GP. Your local doctor will be able to advise you further on maternity care options (i.e. public or private) as well as discussing any initial concerns and answering any questions you might have. They can also order blood tests, as well as discuss general lifestyle changes you might want to start thinking about.
Whether you decide to continue your pregnancy care with your GP, go to see a midwife in a public hospital or book into a private obstetrician, there are a number of checks and tests which may be offered to you.
Checks and tests during your first trimester
Below are some checks and tests which your doctor or midwife might order for you:
- Blood tests: Your blood may be tested to confirm your blood group and Rh type which is important to know for when your baby is born. They may also check your blood for sexually transmitted infections, immunity to rubella (German measles), and iron levels. You may also be screened for other conditions and risk factors - this testing is normal.
- Urine tests: These may be conducted to check for infections as well as looking at protein and sugar levels, which may be signs of other medical concerns.
- Pap smear: If you are due for your pap smear, this can be organised safely by your doctor during pregnancy.
Read our checklist for a list of other topics you might want to discuss with your doctor during your first trimester visit.
12th week visit
One of the most exciting weeks in your pregnancy is number 12! Not only do most parents look forward to sharing their exciting news with family and friends, but it’s also often the first time you get to ‘see’ your baby via an ultrasound scan. The 12-week scan allows your doctor to work out the age and due date of your baby more accurately, and is also used to screen your baby for common chromosomal conditions (e.g. Down syndrome). The scan is often referred to as a NT (nuchal translucency) scan.
For some this can be a very emotional milestone, so it helps to have a list of questions pre-prepared for your sonographer. It’s easy to forget things when you’re in front of the monitor!
- Ask what clothes you need to take off for the scan. If it’s your first time, there’s no harm in asking.
- Ask for a towel or sheet to put over yourself if you don’t feel like you’re covered up enough. You might want to consider your outfit choice on scan day – choose clothes which are easy to take off or can be lifted up to expose your belly.
- Ask what they look for in the 12-week scan if they haven’t already explained this to you.
- Ask if baby is developing normally.
- Ask if you can get a picture or recording before they start scanning. Hospitals and clinics often have different policies about printing scans to keep. Some sonographers may also be able to record the scan session onto a DVD or USB, so you can take it home and experience it over and over again!
- Ask if the foetal heartbeat sounds normal.
- Ask when your next scan is and what you can expect.
Your doctor will likely discuss the results of the scan in your next visit.
Note: women who have had fertility assistance (i.e., IVF) may often have an additional scan at week 7. This ultrasound is performed to confirm the number of embryos and your due date and is also the first time you can visualise your babies heart beating! From here on in you’ll be in the hands of your healthcare professional to guide how often you will have check-ups throughout your pregnancy.