Medical tests during pregnancy, for women with type 1 diabetes
During pregnancy you will need to have a number of tests to check your general health and the wellbeing of your baby, including:
- HbA1c to assess your overall blood glucose management during pregnancy
- iron studies, including haemoglobin to make sure you are not anaemic
- kidney function tests.
Other tests will be arranged by your doctor as needed.
Ultrasound scans are used to monitor your baby’s growth and wellbeing. They can also be used to check for abnormalities in your developing baby and the risk of genetic disorders.
It is likely that you will be offered ultrasounds at the following stages:
- 7–8 weeks: to estimate your due date
- 11–13 weeks: for the first trimester combined screening (a nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound and blood test to check for genetic abnormalities, including Down Syndrome as well as for risk for early onset of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) before 34 weeks)
- 18–20 weeks: for the anatomy scan (to check for physical abnormalities)
- 28 weeks: to check your baby’s growth.
You may also be asked to have additional ultrasound scans, usually every two to four weeks from 28 weeks, to monitor your baby’s growth and general health.
You will be asked to give a urine sample at each visit during your pregnancy. This is tested for albumin and protein, and it can also identify the presence of any infection that would need to be promptly treated.
A small amount of protein in the urine is not uncommon in pregnancy. However, a larger amount may indicate that the pregnancy has affected your kidneys or, in later pregnancy, that you are developing pre-eclampsia.
Fetal heart rate monitoring
Sometimes your obstetrician may recommend that you have a cardiotocography test (CTG), to monitor your baby’s heart rate. This test may be recommended in the later stages of pregnancy. A CTG takes about 30 minutes and involves two sensors being placed on your stomach. These sensors record an electronic trace as a graph of your baby’s heart rate, and detect any contractions in your uterus.