As a new mom-to-be, you have a lot of things on your to-do list as you prepare for your little one to arrive. However, none is more important than setting up a prenatal appointment schedule.
That’s because regular visits to an OB/GYN, midwife, or family doctor trained in obstetrics is essential to ensuring everything goes as expected with your pregnancy and that there aren’t any unforeseen health issues.
To help you make the most of your prenatal visits, here is a timeline and guide on when your appointments are usually set up and what to expect during each visit. Mark your calendar and make every effort to keep your appointments, as they are important to your health and that of your baby.
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll typically have 10 to 15 prenatal visits with your obstetrician, depending on when you discover you’re pregnant and when you have your first checkup. As long as there are no complications, the frequency of your prenatal appointments will be as follows:
If this is not your first pregnancy and you have had complications in the past, such as premature birth, you may need to see your practitioner more often. More prenatal visits will also be required if your pregnancy is considered high-risk due to one of the following factors:
At your first trimester prenatal appointment, roughly during the second month of pregnancy, a full recording of your medical, mental, gynecological, and obstetrical history will be taken. Your practitioner will ask you about any medications you’re taking, any diseases you’ve been exposed to, your lifestyle, and will inquire about your partner’s medical details, as well.
During your visit, you’ll also undergo a check-up that includes your height, weight, and blood pressure, and a pelvic exam to check on your pregnancy. That will be followed by a number of tests, such as urinalysis, bloodwork, genetic carrier screening, a Pap smear, a blood sugar test, and a test for sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Visits to your practitioner during the second trimester tend to be shorter, but also include checks of your weight, urine, and blood pressure. In addition, your practitioner will keep track of your baby’s development by measuring the size of your abdomen, listening to your baby’s heartbeat, and checking whether you feel fetal movement, such as flutters or belly kicks.
This is also the time when other prenatal screenings or tests may be offered, such as blood tests to check your blood count and iron level, screening for gestational diabetes, and those to detect any genetic or chromosomal disorders. Fetal ultrasounds will also be conducted to check on your body’s anatomy and, if you wish to know, confirm your baby’s sex.
Your prenatal appointments will become more frequent as you get closer to your due date. In addition to the usual weight, urine, and blood pressure checks, your doctor will monitor your baby’s heartbeat and ask you about any contractions, bleeding, or leaking fluid you may be experiencing.
Your baby’s position will also be checked to determine whether it is headfirst in your uterus, bottom-first (frank breech), feet-first (complete breech), transverse (lying sideways) or oblique (the head is down but directed at one of your hips). This will help you and your doctor know whether there might be any complications during delivery to prepare for.
Now is the time to ask your doctor any last-minute questions you may have about labor, pain management during delivery, and how and when your baby will be born.
The doctors, certified nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners at Dekalb Women’s Specialists are an exceptional team of highly trained experts in the field of women’s healthcare and obstetrics who provide compassionate care for women before, during, and after the birth of their babies. They can guide you through your pregnancy, too.
To learn more about our comprehensive prenatal care, schedule a consultation by calling Dekalb Women’s Specialists at (404) 508-2000 or request an appointment now. We have three convenient locations near Atlanta, Georgia, from which to serve your OB-GYN and women’s healthcare needs in Decatur, Stonecrest, and Stone Mountain.