THE MODERN WOMAN
ROUTINE PREGNANCY CHECK-UPS
Like every woman’s individual body, every pregnancy is unique. Regularly scheduled pregnancy check-ups allow you and your physician to determine the best, personalized pregnancy care for your individual body and lifestyle, as well as to track both your health and the health of your baby. We understand that many women remain very active during their pregnancies and we are happy to work with you to schedule appointments with our physicians and midwives that will fit with your day.
PREGNANCY CHECK-UP TIMELINE
While no two pregnancies will ever be exactly the same, the following information will help prepare you for what to expect at your check-ups based on the stage of your pregnancy. Our physicians and certified nurse midwives will perform standard evaluations of you and your baby and check for abnormalities throughout your pregnancy, with heightened vigilance during stages of increased risk.
FIRST TRIMESTER: 0 TO 12 WEEKS
What to expect at your first visit:
- A thorough physical exam and review of your medical history.
- An ultrasound to confirm your due date (when to expect you will go into labor).
- Blood work and standard cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- A pap smear, unless you’ve had one recently.
- Arrangement to consult with a specialist (if certain risk factors are present).
- A request to see your old medical records (if needed).
What to expect after your first visit (every three to four weeks during first trimester):
Documentation and tracking of your blood pressure and weight.
Testing your urine for protein and glucose.
Answers to some of your questions as your doctor will have more information about your baby.
An early ultrasound may be performed if there is suspected risk involved in your pregnancy
SECOND TRIMESTER: 12 TO 24 WEEKS
Visits generally scheduled every three to four weeks:
- An examination of fetal heart tones (your baby’s heartbeat)
- Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) screening between weeks 16 and 18. Your doctor will also determine fetal growth at this time. Your doctor will also refer you to prenatal classes at your hospital or through private instruction if you are not enrolled in them already.
- The anatomy scan ultrasound is generally performed between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy, and the sex of the baby may be determined at this time.
- If you require any surgery related to your pregnancy, your provider will most likely schedule it during this trimester.
THIRD TRIMESTER: 24 WEEKS TO DELIVERY
Visits generally scheduled every two to three weeks:
- A glucola screen for gestational diabetes at 26 weeks
- Visits generally scheduled weekly from 36 weeks until delivery:
- A group B strep vaginal culture (a test for Group B Strep bacteria) at 35–36 weeks. Your provider will also discuss signs of preterm labor and begin monitoring them if indicated.
- At 36 weeks, your doctor will determine the fetal position (this is the time a baby usually locks into position). If the baby is suspected to be breech (head facing away from the vagina) in the third trimester, your provider may perform an ultrasound.
- Your provider may perform an external cephalic version if your baby is breech, or recommend some home exercises that may help move the baby
into a vertex (head-first) position.
- Weekly cervical checks.
- At 39 weeks your provider may offer birth induction.
- 40 weeks marks a complete term. If you’ve not yet had your baby, expect more frequent visits with your provider. Your doctor may offer to induce labor if your cervix is ripe.
- If labor has not occurred by 41–42 weeks, expect to be induced. Inducing labor at this point is necessary to minimize risks to yourself and the baby.
For more information, read this handy pregnancy visual timeline for a detailed week-by-week example from WebMD.