Congratulations, you’ve gotten a positive on your pregnancy test kit, and you’re now a mum- and dad-to-be! In 9 months (give or take a few days), your baby boy or girl will be unleashed unto the world, and there’s definitely a lot to do and prepare in advance!

But, for the moment, now what? Schedule an appointment with an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and listen to their advice on what you two should do during your pregnancy. One part of pregnancy that we’ll be looking at today will be the prenatal screenings and tests that you’ll have to do. There’ll be quite a bit of them, but you and your ob-gyn will be able to come up with a doable schedule.

Why Do Prenatal Screenings and Tests?

These tests are performed during pregnancy to ensure the health of both mummy and her baby, and to find out if baby has any conditions, or the risk of them happening. If there are any conditions present and aren’t taken care of, mum and baby could be at risk. Each test allows your doctor to keep track of your pregnancy and ensure that you’re both healthy and doing well.

First Trimester Tests

1. Blood Tests

During your first pregnancy visit, your doctor should ask you to do a Full Blood Count test. It’s mainly done to check if you have anaemia or thalassaemia. Other blood tests that can be done are: Hepatitis B, Rubella immunity, syphilis, and HIV.

Procedure: Blood sample will be drawn at the clinic

Costs: Depending on your clinic charges

2. Dating Scan

This ultrasound scan can be done from 6 to 12 weeks, and lets you know if your baby is in the right position, if you’re expecting more than one baby, which stage of pregnancy you’re in, and your expected due date. It also checks for any potential abnormalities in the structure of your baby’s bones and organs.

Procedure: Ultrasound scan

Costs: Depending on your doctor’s charges

3. One Stop Clinic for the Assessment of Risk (OSCAR)

Usually done from 11 to 13 weeks, it’s also known as OSCAR. This is a first trimester option offered to all pregnant women as an earlier and more accurate method of screening for risk of fetal anomalies, in particular, Down’s Syndrome.

Accuracy: 90% with 5% false positive

Procedure: Ultrasound measurement of fetal NT (thickness of fluid-filled area behind fetal’s neck) and a blood sample will be drawn

Costs: $340 - $380

4. Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests (NIPT)

There are 2 types of NIPT in Singapore – Harmony Test (can be done as early as 10 weeks) and Panorama Test (as early as 9 weeks).

The tests analyse the DNA in a sample of your blood to predict the risk of Down Syndrome (trisomy 21) and two other genetic conditions, trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome).

The 2 tests can also determine the gender of the fetus.

Accuracy: 99% with 0.1% false positive

Procedure: Blood sample will be drawn

Costs: $1,200 - $1,400

Remember to check with your gynaecologist on which screening is most suitable for you.