Routine antenatal tests play a critical role in ensuring the well-being of both expectant mothers and their unborn children. These tests are typically conducted during pregnancy and serve as a means of identifying and managing any potential health risks. This allows healthcare professionals to take necessary precautions or start a treatment plan for a high-risk condition. From screening for genetic disorders to basic monitoring, routine antenatal tests are needed to provide insights that guide medical interventions and ensure a safe pregnancy experience. Discover more as Bloom discusses the significance, types and benefits of antenatal healthcare.
What is antenatal care and why is it important?
Antenatal care is also known as prenatal care. It refers to the focused healthcare methods that are specifically provided to pregnant women before childbirth. Antenatal care is a comprehensive approach that is designed to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby throughout the course of the pregnancy. This includes a series of medical check-ups, screenings, and tests that are conducted by healthcare professionals.
The objective of antenatal care is to monitor the progress of the pregnancy and detect and manage any potential complications. Regular check-ups allow healthcare workers to assess the health of the foetus and monitor the mother’s physical health. It’s important for expectant mothers to participate in antenatal care and routine antenatal tests as it serves as a precautionary health measure. Early detection and subsequent treatment of high-risk health conditions, like gestational diabetes, hypertension, and infections can be addressed in a timely manner.
Types of routine antenatal tests
There is a range of antenatal tests that should be conducted during pregnancy. These are the most common routine antenatal tests that are covered by Momentum Health4Me under maternity benefits:
- The antiglobulin test. This is also known as the Coombs Test. It’s a diagnostic procedure that is used to detect antibodies which attack and destroy red blood cells. It also plays a crucial role in diagnosing autoimmune hemolytic anaemia. The test involves mixing the patient’s blood with antibodies that bind to any antibodies or complement proteins attached to red blood cells. A positive result indicates the presence of these antibodies. This means that medical professionals will need to monitor and manage this condition closely.
- Full blood count. (FBC) is a routine antenatal test that assesses the quantity and quality of blood components, including red and white blood cells and platelets. It’s required in order to monitor maternal health and identify potential complications. Abnormalities found in white blood cells and platelet counts are indicative of clotting disorders. Anaemia is a common condition in pregnancy and this can be detected through an FBC. If anaemia is detected, then medical interventions can be deployed, like ensuring that the foetus receives adequate oxygen supply.
- Haemoglobin estimation (Hb) assesses the concentration of haemoglobin in a pregnant woman’s blood. It’s required in order to test for anaemia, which can cause complications for both mother and baby. By identifying and addressing low haemoglobin levels, healthcare providers can implement medical interventions such as iron supplementation, which will reduce the risk of complications related to maternal anaemia.
- Blood group and rhesus. This is a routine antenatal screening that determines a pregnant woman’s blood type, which can be: A, B, AB, or O; as well as the Rh factor, which can be positive or negative. This information is crucial for managing potential blood incompatibility issues between the mother and the baby. Incompatibility with Rh-negative mothers and Rh-positive babies can lead to the baby developing hemolytic disease. Having insight into the blood type and rhesus factor allows healthcare providers to administer preventive measures, like Rh-immunoglobulin injections. This prevents maternal immune system reactions and safeguards the health of both the mother and baby during pregnancy.
- A platelet count test is a part of the routine antenatal care tests that are conducted to assess the number of platelets in a pregnant woman’s blood. Platelets are crucial for blood clotting, and the levels are monitored to identify potential clotting disorders or conditions that may lead to excessive bleeding during childbirth. An abnormal platelet count can indicate life-threatening conditions, like gestational thrombocytopenia or preeclampsia. Identifying these conditions early will allow healthcare workers to intervene promptly, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
- IgG: Varicella, herpes, rubella is a routine antenatal test that measures the levels of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against Varicella (chickenpox), Herpes, and Rubella (German measles) in a pregnant woman’s blood. This test determines her immunity status to these infections. Immunity to these diseases is crucial during pregnancy, as contracting them in vitro will pose serious health risks to the developing foetus. Early detection of any immune-related complications will allow healthcare professionals to take precautionary measures, like issuing vaccinations, to ensure the health of the mother and child.
- A creatinine test is conducted to measure the levels of creatinine, which is a waste product from muscle metabolism, in a pregnant woman’s blood. This test assesses kidney function, which is needed to filter waste. During pregnancy, the kidneys can often experience increased stress, and develop renal complications. Life-threatening conditions like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or kidney dysfunction can be identified by assessing creatinine levels. Early detection enables timely treatment and management of a serious condition or disease.
- A glucose strip test or glucose tolerance test is used to measure the body’s response to sugar. It’s a routine antenatal screening that assesses a pregnant woman’s glucose metabolism. It involves measuring blood sugar levels to detect gestational diabetes, which increases the risk of a large birth weight, preeclampsia, and other complications. Early identification through glucose testing allows for interventions, like dietary changes or insulin therapy, to manage blood sugar levels.
- A urine dipstick test is a testing method that assesses various medical aspects of a pregnant woman’s urine. The routine antenatal test provides key insights into kidney function and potential complications like gestational diabetes or urinary tract infections. The test checks for protein, glucose, ketones, and other indicators. Elevated protein levels are often indicative of preeclampsia, for instance.
Discover more about the types of screening and diagnostic tests done during pregnancy.
More antenatal care benefits from Momentum Health4Me
Bronze, Silver and Gold Health4Me health insurance plans include the following maternity benefits:
- One growth 2D scan per member, per pregnancy
- Antenatal pathology tests as linked to a Network GP visit and referred by a Network GP
- Antenatal vitamins are provided with the Network’s prescribed acute medication formulary
Gold Health4Me health insurance plan includes the following:
- One additional growth 2D scan per member per pregnancy
- Antenatal support from Baby YumYum
- Support from a trained nurse or midwife
How to register for maternity benefits with Momentum Health4Me
Members will need to register for maternity benefits in order to qualify. The process is quite simple. Call us on 0860 10 29 03 and provide the following information to our customer service team:
- Your Health4Me membership number
- Your Health4Me dependent number
- Your due date
- Your contact details
Get medical insurance with maternity cover
Ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy by getting health insurance with maternity cover. Health4Me medical insurance with maternity benefits provides comprehensive care and routine antenatal testing for expectant mothers. Contact Bloom’s office to speak to a consultant about health insurance plans. Get a free quote and you can have peace of mind that you will be covered during your pregnancy and childbirth.