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Routine Pregnancy Examinations



Routine Pregnancy Examinations

Pregnancy is a time of great vulnerability in women’s health. There are several routine tests that are considered essential to monitor a normal pregnancy.

Clinical Tests

Carrying out tests during pregnancy enables the detection of various alterations that may place the mother or baby’s health at risk, as well as the pregnancy itself. Some situations evaluated through analytical studies are anaemia, maternal and foetal infections, gestational diabetes and urinary infections, among others.


At least 3 ultrasounds are recommended during pregnancy:

- 1st Trimester Ultrasound– Carried out between the 11th and 13th weeks, enables assessment of the probable due date, gestational age, presence of a multiple pregnancy (twins), various signs of Down Syndrome (nuchal translucency, nasal bone, etc.) and serious foetal deformities;

- 2nd Trimester Ultrasound- Carried out between the 21st and 23rd weeks of pregnancy, enables assessment of foetal morphology (formation), excluding or diagnosing most deformities;

- 3rd Trimester Ultrasound- Carried out between the 31st and 34th weeks of pregnancy, enables assessment of foetal growth, placenta and the foetal presentation (position).

Detection of chromosomal anomalies

During pregnancy, ideally in the 1st trimester, it is recommended that tests be carried out to detect aneuploidies, where the most frequent is Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). There are various types of screening available that assess the risk of the foetus having Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13:

- 1st Trimester Combined Screening -Recommended for all pregnant women, this is based on collecting maternal blood between the 8th and 10th weeks of pregnancy (PAPP-A and free βhCG) and the 1st trimester ultrasound, between the 11th and 13th weeks, with precise evaluation of the ultrasound markers for trisomies. The combination of the mother’s age, biochemical doses and ultrasound achieves a detection rate for Trisomy 21 of approximately 95%, and these results are known during the ultrasound. When it is not possible to collect blood between the 8th and 10th weeks, this should be done at the same time as the ultrasound between the 11th and 13th weeks (1st Trimester Combined Screening) and, even then, the detection rate for Trisomy 21 is above 90%. In these cases, the final results are known within a few days of the ultrasound /biochemical testing.

- Foetal DNA analysis from maternal blood– Using a sample of maternal blood collected after the 10th week of pregnancy, it is currently possible to detect fragments of foetal DNA in circulation and, through this evaluation, obtain a Trisomy 21 detection rate above 99%. These tests also enable evaluation of the presence of Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13, although with lower sensitivities, as well as determining foetal gender. However, these do not replace the 1st Trimester ultrasound.

- 2nd Trimester Biochemical Screening– Carried out between the 14th and 20th weeks of pregnancy (ideally at 15 weeks), this is based on collecting maternal blood with various biochemical doses that enable evaluation of the risk of Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13, with a detection rate of Trisomy 21 of approximately 80%.

Pregnancy is a unique stage in life, when women must think of themselves and their future baby. Although there are no tests that can exclude all foetal problems, proper vigilance during pregnancy increases chances of success and is essential for a happy ending.

These tests can be carried out at Clínica de Miraflores, Clínica de Cascais (CascaShopping), Clínica de Sintra, Clínica de Carcavelos and Clínica Médica de Faro. Appointments can be scheduled on your personal section of the website, through our App or by phone (214 124 300).

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