Antepartum refers to the time period of a pregnancy before labour and delivery. During antepartum, an Obstetrician will monitor the heart rate of the baby and conduct an ultrasound to obtain a measure of how well the pregnancy is proceeding for both the mother and child. Timely observation, diagnosis and response can avoid furthering complications. For this reason, it is very important to involve the services of a medical professional. Dr Gary Swift MBBS (Qld) FRANZCOG – specialises in fertility, laparoscopic surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics.

Antepartum testing

Some of the signals the obstetrician will look for are:

  • The anatomy of baby developing properly
  • The organs of the baby developing properly
  • Sufficient oxygen to the fetus from the placenta

Some tests that may be used to assess the baby’s health in the antepartum phase are the biophysical profile, the non-stress test and a doppler scan.

Antepartum – The biophysical Profile (BPP)

Used more often in the third trimester of pregnancy, a BPP looks at the fetus’ movement, breathing, heart rate, muscle tone and the amount of amniotic fluid present. The biophysical profile test is especially recommended if there is a case of:

  • chronic kidney disease
  • high blood pressure
  • preclampsia
  • type 1 diabetes
  • lupus
  • hyperthyroidism
  • twin or triplets etc
  • pregnancy has gone past the due date

Antepartum – Non-Stress Test (NST)

A non-invasive test that observes the baby’s voluntary movement and then measures the heart rate as a result of that movement. No stress is placed on the fetus during the test and involves the use of technology to measure the fetal heart rate and contractions. Eating a meal before the test may be advised so that the food will stimulate the baby to move around more often. This test may proceed for about 30 minutes.

Antepartum – Doppler Scan

A Doppler scan is a form of ultrasound scan that is used to assess your baby’s health. There is an observation of blood flow in different areas of your baby’s body. This scan can run at the same time as a regular ultrasound and produces 3D images for the obstetrician to confirm healthy blood flow through a mother’s umbilical arteries and that the placenta is working as it should.

High blood pressure, hormone levels, certain medications and smoking are some possible factors that will produce resistance in the umbilical artery walls. Resistance may lead to a lack of nutrients and oxygen passing to the baby.

If you are searching for a medical professional to care for you and your baby through pregnancy the Dr Gary Swift Clinic can be reached by phoning 07 5564 6017 or through the website by clicking here