Once you know or suspect you are pregnant it is advised to see your GP as soon as possible. If you choose to have your baby at South West Healthcare, your doctor will refer you to the Women’s Health Service (WHS) for ongoing specialist care. If you are suffering from nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, your GP can request an earlier appointment with WHS to help manage your symptoms.
Your GP will conduct and arrange a variety of tests for you.
During your pregnancy you will be offered several tests and examinations. Every test and the reason for doing them should be explained to you by your doctor or midwife. Always ask the reason for the test if you do not understand or are still unsure.
These tests are recommended by your health provider with the intention of protecting you and your baby’s health, however it is your choice whether you want to have them or not.
To check if and how far along into pregnancy you are by detecting the level of pregnancy hormone present in your blood.
Your blood group may be rhesus positive or negative. If you are rhesus negative, you will require Anti D injections during pregnancy to prevent the development of harmful antibodies possibly affecting future pregnancies. One in six women are Rhesus negative.
For women that are Rh (D) negative please go to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood for more information.
A full blood count checks for general health and can indicate the presence of anaemia. Making the extra blood cells needed during your pregnancy requires plenty of iron, vitamin B12 and folate. Your iron (ferritin) levels will also be checked and supplements recommended if necessary.
Not everyone has symptoms with a urine infection so a sample is sent to see if you have any infection so it can be treated to prevent problems later in your pregnancy.
Pregnant women who contract rubella (Rubella | Australian Government Department of Health) are at risk for miscarriage or stillbirth, and their developing babies are at risk for severe birth defects with devastating, lifelong consequences.
If immunity is found to be low, pregnant women are unable to have a booster immunisation until after their baby is born and will therefore need counselling on ways to reduced risk of contracting the disease.
Hepatitis B (Hepatitis B | Australian Government Department of Health) & C (Hepatitis C | Australian Government Department of Health) are infections with a virus that affect the liver. It is important to check for evidence of infection or immunity so you can better look after yourself in pregnancy and to minimise the risk of your baby becoming infected during birth.
Syphilis (Syphilis | Australian Government Department of Health) is a sexually transmitted infection which may have no obvious symptoms. In pregnancy, it can result in spontaneous miscarriage or stillbirth or cause congenital syphilis infection. Syphilis in pregnancy can be safely treated with antibiotics, which can prevent these complications.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (Human immunodeficiency virus | Australian Government Department of Health) is the virus that causes AIDS. This can be passed on to babies during pregnancy and birth. If you are HIV positive, you will receive specialised care and health advice to reduce the chance of your baby getting the infection.
A cervical screen test also known as a Pap smear may be offered if you have not recently had one. This test checks for changes to cells in the cervix (neck of the womb).
Your GP may order a dating ultrasound, this measures your growing pregnancy and helps to determine the date your baby is due, and also if there are any problems present. In the few cases where ultrasound reveals an unexpected problem, you may be referred for further diagnostic tests. This ultrasound may also reveal if you are carrying one or multiple babies!
Available between: 11 weeks 3days – 13weeks 6 days
The Nuchal translucency ultrasound is used as a screening tool for Down’s syndrome by measuring the thickness of a fold at the back of the babies neck.
This ultrasound can be done on its own or in combination with a blood test collected in 10th week of pregnancy, see ‘Combined First Trimester Screening’ in the Prenatal Screen section below.
Most babies are born healthy and well, but sometimes babies can be born with chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome. There are screening tests available during pregnancy to detect a low or high chance of your baby having a chromosome abnormality and diagnostic tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Prenatal screening will be discussed with your GP or your obstetrician during your first visit, but if for some reason your appointment is not until after 12 weeks gestation, it is important that the GP discuss these options with you prior. There are many types of prenatal testing available so please familiarise yourself with them. Your Doctor will discuss these options and refer you accordingly.
Information about Screening and diagnostic tests for Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders including the what it involves can be found by following links in table below :
|Name of test||What it involves|
|Combined first trimester screening||Ultrasound at 11-13 weeks plus
Blood test at 10-13 weeks
|Second trimester serum screening||Blood test between 14-20 weeks|
|Cell-free DNA screening or noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT)||Blood test from 10 weeks|
Diagnostic tests for chromosomal and genetic conditions
Only a diagnostic test, such as an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), can confirm if your baby definitely has a genetic or chromosomal condition. Both diagnostic tests come with risks, therefore most women will be offered non-invasive screening first before deciding if they wish to have diagnostic testing.
It is important to remember that even a normal amniocentesis or CVS result cannot guarantee a fully healthy baby. There are many conditions that cannot be detected before a baby is born.
Once your pregnancy is confirmed with your GP, your GP will send an Antenatal referral to Women’s Health Service (WHS). WHS is part of the Specialist Outpatient Service provided by South West Healthcare (SWH). WHS provides bulk billed Antenatal care to women.
Once WHS receive your referral they will send you a letter via email or post to book your first antenatal appointment with your Midwife (usually around 8-10 weeks via Telehealth) and a second appointment to come to WHS to see a doctor (usually around 10-12 weeks).