Follow-Up Tests

During a pregnancy your patient will also take many routine follow-up tests that can take place in the second trimester as the baby is growing, as well as in the third trimester, towards the expected date of delivery, when it is important to check the patient and the baby are healthy and ready for the birth. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

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  • Blood Glucose: Many doctors screen all women for gestational diabetes, while others test only those who are at higher risk. It is common to perform a gestational glucose tolerance test between 24 and 26 weeks. It affects about 10-20% of women and the risk increases with maternal age.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): Commonly used during pregnancy for diagnosing gestational diabetes, which is due to the production of placental hormones. As your baby gets bigger, your body has to produce as much as two to three times more insulin. Gestational diabetes has no real symptoms, but it poses a threat to the baby and increases the chances of birth complications. Therefore, it is important to test for, diagnose and treat gestational diabetes. It affects about 10-20% of women and the risk increases with maternal age. With an oral glucose tolerance test, the person fasts overnight (at least 8 hours, but not more than 16 hours).
  • Iron Studies: This measures serum iron, ferritin and transferrin for ongoing monitoring during pregnancy to ensure levels do not get too low.
  • FBE: This test gives a good indication of general health, including haemoglobin and platelet levels. Low platelet levels may indicate pre-eclampsia. Patients are typically asked to have a FBE at the first antenatal visit and again at 28 weeks, and often once more at 36 weeks.
  • Syphilis: In addition to routine syphilis testing at the first antenatal contact, RANZCOG guidelines recommend repeat testing at 28 weeks, 36 weeks, birth, and 6 weeks postpartum in high-risk populations.1 Due to a concerning rise in cases of syphilis and congenital syphilis, some jurisdictions are also recommending routine testing at 28 and 36 weeks. Please refer to local guidelines for advice. 
  • Group B streptococcus: This common bacterium lives in the human body. It causes no symptoms, but in rare cases it can be passed to the baby at birth and can cause serious illness or even death. The test for Group B streptococcus carriage is performed between 35 and 37 weeks.

    1. RANZCOG Guideline. March 2022. https://ranzcog.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Routine-antenatal-assessment-in-the-absence-of-pregnancy-complications.pdf

If further information regarding testing is required, or you need to discuss a patient, please contact: Assoc. Prof. Mirette Saad on P: (03) 9538 6777 or E: Mirette.Saad@clinicallabs.com.au.