Pregnancy Tests and Ultrasounds

Welcoming a new child into your life can be overwhelming, and each trimester of pregnancy has its own unique challenges. Fortunately, modern medicine and healthcare allows you to get support, screening and assessment to help you support the growth and development of your baby. If you are a new parent, you might not know the routine tests recommended by obstetricians. To help you prepare for your pregnancy, here is an outline of the screening and testing you will be recommended as you go through pregnancy.

Test to confirm pregnancy

If you take an at-home test or think you are pregnant, you can visit your GP to confirm pregnancy. This test will use a blood or urine sample for HCG, a substance which usually indicates that someone is pregnant.

Routine tests include:

  • Maternal health screening
  • Nuchal translucency scanning
  • Non-invasive prenatal testing
  • Ultrasound scans

Maternal health screening

This screening will allow your doctor to determine your health and any issues that may impact your pregnancy. A blood test is taken to check for:

  • Your blood type: determine if you are Rh-negative or positive
  • Immunity to Rubella
  • Signs of infection (HIV, hepatitis B)
  • Iron levels
  • Gestational diabetes

You will also get a urine test and a vaginal swab test.

Maternal screenings explained

The main tests in the above list will likely be:

Rh-negative or positive

As mentioned, Rh blood type can lead to risks, namely if an Rh-negative mother delivers an Rh-positive baby. This test will occur during your 26–28-week antenatal appointment, your 34–36-week appointment as well as a test on your baby after giving birth.


Rubella can be incredibly dangerous for newborn babies, particularly if the parent contracts it within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. It can lead to permanent defects in the child, which is why parents who are not immune are encouraged to get vaccinated.

Glucose test

The glucose test will test for gestational diabetes, a temporary form of diabetes that some women may experience. This may influence your diet during pregnancy and screenings.

Immunisation vaccines

Your doctor will recommend you get a flu shot as well as the adult dtPa vaccine which will protect both you and your baby.

Maternal serum screening (MSS)

The MSS is a blood test that will be done at different times in each trimester:

  • 9 to 13 weeks (first trimester)
  • 14 to 20 weeks (second trimester) + 6 days gestation

Non-invasive prenatal testing

NIPT is used to test for the risk of certain genetic conditions such as Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21), Edward’s (trisomy 18) and Patau’s (trisomy 13) syndrome. The test can be done after 10+ weeks gestation.


Ultrasounds are performed once every trimester and will test for different factors depending on the trimester.

The ultrasound is used during the first trimester after 11-13 weeks pregnant to:

  • Determine the due date
  • Calculate the number of embryos
  • Check the development and well being of the baby
  • Perform nuchal translucency test and 1st trimester anatomy scan

The ultrasound in the second trimester – at 18-20 weeks- is used to:

  • Pick up any structural abnormalities
  • Determine the baby’s sex

The ultrasound in the third trimester is used to

  • Check the baby’s growth
  • Check the positioning of the placenta
  • Check the baby’s presentation

Invasive diagnostic tests

Invasivediagnostic tests are used if there are concerns about potential chromosomal conditions in the baby. These includes:

  • Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

Getting the right help

If you are feeling uncertain about what tests and screenings you will need to take you can get support from your GP, a midwife or your obstetrician. OMNI Ultrasound and Gynaecological Care can also offer you support and guidance during this time.

Reach out on 1300 851 968.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.