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Examinations during pregnancy

Urine sample

A urine sample is taken from the expectant mother during each appointment at the maternity clinic. The sample is used to examine glucose and protein levels. Normally, glucose and proteins should not be found in the urine during pregnancy. A bacteria sample of urine is examined at the beginning of pregnancy. The examination is done to ensure that the expectant mother does not suffer from a latent urinary tract infection.


To monitor the haemoglobin level of the expectant mother, a blood sample is taken from a finger tip at least three times during pregnancy. Haemoglobin is the red colorant of blood that carries oxygen to the cells. The normal value of haemoglobin in women is between 117 and 155 g/l. If the haemoglobin level is below 115 g/l, an iron supplement is recommended.
The haemoglobin level is at its lowest during the midterm of pregnancy, as the amount of mother's blood increases, but the number of blood cells does not increase as much.

Blood pressure and weight

The blood pressure and weight of the mother are examined during the appointments at the maternity clinic. In the long term, the blood pressure should not exceed the value of 140/90. For a normal weight woman (BMI 20-25), the recommended weight gain is 11.5-16 kg. For an underweight woman (BMI 18.5-19.9), the recommended weight gain is 12.5-18 kg. If the BMI is 26-28, the weight gain should not exceed 7-11.5 kg. If the expectant mother is obese (BMI > 29), the weight gain during pregnancy should not exceed 6-8 kilos. During the initial pregnancy, the weight gain is quite low. During the midterm and the remainder of the pregnancy, the recommended weight gain is under 500 grams a week.

Blood type

The mother's blood type and Rh factor are examined during the first laboratory tests at the maternity clinic. The blood type and Rh factor need to be known, if blood or blood components have to be given to the mother, when she is giving birth.
The Rh factor is also very important for the child's wellbeing. If the mother is Rh negative, but the child has inherited the blood group of Rh positive from his/her father, the mother's immune system may start to develop antibodies towards the child's Rh factor during the pregnancy. The Rh antibodies of Rh negative mothers are examined with blood tests during pregnancy. The blood type of an Rh negative mother's foetus is also determined, and if the blood type is positive, the mother will be given Anti-D immunoglobulin injection at the maternity clinic.

B hepatitis, HIV and cardiolipin

In the laboratory tests during the early pregnancy, blood tests are also taken from the mother for B hepatitis, HIV and cardiolipin. B hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which may be transferred to the foetus during pregnancy or birth. The HIV test examines, whether the mother's blood carries HIV antibodies. HIV may transfer to the child during pregnancy, birth or nursing. The cardiolipin test is used to examine, whether the mother has syphilis antibodies in her blood. If left untreated, syphilis may cause the foetus to fall ill or trigger a premature birth.

Two-hour glucose tolerance test

A two-hour glucose tolerance test is given to most first-time mothers and some other expectant mothers during the midterm of a pregnancy. It reviews the changes in blood sugar, which may indicate gestational diabetes.

Assessment of the growth of the uterus and an evaluation of the growth, position and condition of the foetus

From the pregnancy's mid-term onwards, the size of the uterus and the foetal growth are evaluated with the help of a Symphysis-fundus measurement (SF). When the mother lies on the examination table, legs bent, a measurement tape is used to measure the distance between the pubic bone and the bottom of the uterus from above the abdominal wall. The position of the baby in the womb is evaluated, starting from week 32, by feeling through the abdominal wall.


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