Which checkups are available when you are pregnant?


Das Wichtigste vorab

  • This article provides an overview of the standard prenatal examinations recommended for pregnant women* to ensure maternal and fetal health.
  • Typically, different tests are performed during each trimester of pregnancy. Tests include ultrasounds, blood tests, and glucose tolerance tests.
  • You'll learn the process of prenatal exams and how to prepare for them.

Pregnancy is a special time in a woman's life that involves many physical and emotional changes. To ensure that mother and child remain healthy, regular check-ups are important. In Germany, there are several standard examinations that are performed during pregnancy. These preventive examinations are performed by a gynecologist or midwife and are covered by health insurance. In this article we will give an overview of the different examinations.

What examinations are performed during pregnancy?

There are several standard examinations that are performed during pregnancy. These include ultrasound examinations, blood tests and the glucose tolerance test.

The following screenings are common during pregnancy:

First trimester (up to 14 weeks of pregnancy):

  • Pregnancy test

  • Medical history (collection of medical history and risk factors).

  • Ultrasound examination to determine the week of pregnancy

  • Blood test for infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis)

  • First trimester screening (optional, between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy)

Second trimester (from the 14th to the 28th week of pregnancy):

  • Maternity guideline examination (U1) incl. blood pressure measurement, urine examination and abdominal circumference measurement

  • Nuchal translucency measurement (optional, between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy)

  • Organ screening by ultrasound (between the 19th and 22nd week of pregnancy)

  • Glucose tolerance test (between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy)

  • Blood tests for iron deficiency and rhesus factor

Third trimester (from the 28th week of pregnancy):

  • Maternity guideline examinations (U2-U8) including blood pressure measurement, urinalysis and CTG (cardiotocography).

  • Ultrasound examination to check the position of the child and its growth

  • If necessary, vaginal and rectal examinations to assess the birth process

  • Test for bacteria in the birth canal

The exact exams and time frame may vary. However, it is important to have all recommended exams to ensure the health of the mother and baby.

Procedure of a preventive examination

A screening examination during pregnancy usually follows a fixed procedure.

At the beginning of the examination, the pregnant woman is weighed to keep track of her weight gain.

After that, a urine test is performed to detect possible infections or metabolic disorders at an early stage.

Blood pressure is then measured and a palpation examination of the abdomen is performed to determine the size and position of the baby.

At the beginning of pregnancy, a blood test is also performed to determine the blood group and rhesus factor of the pregnant woman. Furthermore, antibodies and various infectious diseases are tested to minimize possible risks for the unborn child.

How can I prepare for the examinations?

To prepare for screenings, pregnant women should be well informed and ask questions to prepare for the procedure and results. They should also make sure they show up for appointments on time and sober, and bring any necessary samples with them.

What tests are not allowed?

In Germany, there are legal regulations that prohibit or restrict certain examinations during pregnancy. For example, in Germany it is not permitted to examine the sex of the unborn child unless there are medical reasons for doing so. This regulation is intended to prevent parents from learning the sex of the child before birth for cultural or personal reasons, thereby preventing possible discrimination against the unborn child.

Furthermore, in Germany it is not permitted to perform genetic examinations of the unborn child in order to predict certain characteristics such as the child's appearance, intelligence or athletic talent. Such examinations can only be performed for medical reasons, for example, if there is an increased risk of a genetic disease.

It is also important to emphasize that any medical examination during pregnancy should be focused on the best interests of the mother and the child. Invasive procedures, such as amniocentesis, are usually performed only when there are medical reasons and when the risks to the mother and baby are acceptable.

What happens if abnormalities are found during screening?

If abnormalities are found during a screening exam, the health care provider will recommend additional testing to make a diagnosis. This may include an ultrasound or further blood tests. In some cases, a referral to a specialist may also be necessary.

In conclusion, preventive examinations during pregnancy are of great importance. They serve to detect and treat any complications at an early stage in order to protect the health of both mother and child. In Germany, there are various standard examinations such as ultrasound examinations, blood tests and the glucose tolerance test that are performed at certain weeks of pregnancy. In addition, there are other examinations that can be performed as needed. Pregnant women should prepare well for the check-ups and always consult their doctor if there are any abnormalities or questions.

Medically Reviewed

Dieser Text wurde auf Basis von medizinischer Fachliteratur und aktuellen Studien von Medizinredakteur:innen erstellt. Unser Anspruch ist es, wissenschaftlich zu arbeiten, Quellen kenntlich zu machen und die Inhalte regelmäßig auf ihre Aktualität zu prüfen.

Referenzen & Literatur

  1. Brezinka, C., & Steiner, H. (2013). Ultraschallscreening in der Schwangerschaft. Ultraschalldiagnostik in Geburtshilfe und Gynäkologie, 5-12.