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Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that you are expecting, you must be looking forward to a hassle-free pregnancy and childbirth. But to ensure that everything goes well, you need to find the right doctor and midwife for you because their advice will make your pregnancy journey so much better! As soon as you come to know that you’re pregnant, you should see an OB-GYN and schedule the appointments. Health check-ups or appointments during pregnancy are called antenatal check-ups and since you’ll be seeing your doctor a lot now, you will obviously want to know what happens at these antenatal check-ups! Read this article to find out!
How Many Antenatal Appointments Will You Have?
If it’s your first pregnancy and you have a healthy pregnancy, with no medical issues or complications, then you may be required to visit your doctor 8 to 10 times on an average. However, if this is not your first pregnancy and you are not facing any medical issues, then you may have approximately 7 to 9 antenatal visits. The number of visits may vary according to any health conditions or complications that you may be facing during your pregnancy. In case, you have a high-risk pregnancy, then your doctor may keep a close check on your pregnancy, and you may be required to go for frequent antenatal visits.
What Happens at Prenatal Appointments?
Your doctor or midwife may offer you the antenatal care according to the stage of pregnancy you are in, any health risks that you or your baby may be facing or any other complication, if any, you may have during your pregnancy. You may have to undergo various tests, scans and check-ups, which include the following:
- Your obstetrician may ask you about your medical history, which may include your previous pregnancies, miscarriages if any, or any other medical condition you may have.
- You could be asked about any medications that you may be taking.
- Your mental health may be checked to see if you are not suffering from any form of anxiety, depression etc.
- Your doctor may tell you about your estimated date of delivery.
- Your doctor may ask you to undergo some urine and blood tests.
- Your weight and blood pressure will be monitored too.
- You may be suggested some dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Your doctor may like to discuss your birth plan with you.
- Your doctor may conduct ultrasound scans to monitor your baby’s growth and development.
- You may be asked about any physical or emotional symptoms that you are concerned about.
- You may be asked to discuss any pregnancy-related concerns or queries that you may have.
Week-wise Antenatal Visit Schedule
We shall now discuss week-wise prenatal appointment schedule or prenatal care schedule that you may have to keep up with.
1. Week 8 to 12
This may be your first antenatal visit, and this should ideally happen before 10 weeks of pregnancy. In this visit you may be asked the following details:
- Your lifestyle and diet
- Your medical history
- Any health issues that you may be facing
- Your birth plan
- Whether or not you are a working woman
- Whether you plan to breastfeed or not
Here’s some information that your doctor or midwife may share with you:
- When you will be going for the ultrasound scans
- What supplements you may be required to take
- What tests and scans you may have to undergo, and your doctor will share the information of their pros and cons
- You will be handed over a copy of your report after your visit
2. Week 10 to 14
During this visit, your doctor could conduct your first ultrasound scan. During this visit, you may come to know your expected date of delivery or EDD and also know how well your baby is growing inside you. You may also come to know if you are carrying one or more babies. Also, your doctor can try and find out if your baby may be suffering from any kind of genetic abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome and other such complications.
3. Week 16
Your blood and urine tests results will be discussed by your doctor. In case iron deficiency is diagnosed, you may be prescribed iron supplements to tackle it. Also, your urine may be tested for the presence of protein. Your weight and blood pressure will be measured too. You may also be told about your anomaly ultrasound scan that may be conducted in your next visit. At this stage, if you face any sort of discomfort or concerns, ensure that you communicate with your doctor so she can advise you on the steps to take.
4. Week 18 to 21
It is during this visit that your doctor may want to conduct the anomaly scan. This scan is performed to see how your baby is developing inside your womb and to also to check whether or not there may be any kind of physical abnormalities present in the foetus. In countries where it is legal, parents may also be told about the sex of their baby. Also, if you may not have had your screening for Hepatitis B, Syphilis or HIV, it may be conducted now.
5. Week 25
You will probably have to go for this visit in case you are a first-time mommy-to-be. Your blood pressure may be checked, and your urine may again be examined for the presence of protein as a precaution. Your doctor may measure the size of the baby bump by doing so from the top of your bump to the pelvic bone—this is done to see how your baby is developing.
6. Week 28
Your obstetrician may conduct a blood test to check your iron levels and also to check your antibodies. If your levels aren’t within the favourable range, your doctor may suggest an appropriate dosage of supplements. From here on your doctor will also measure your baby bump every time to see how well your baby may be developing. Routine blood and urine work may follow. In case you have been found out to be rhesus negative blood type, and there may be a likelihood that your baby may be rhesus positive, your doctor may give you an anti-D injection to kill any antibodies that your body may develop.
7. Week 31
During this visit, you can expect our urine may be checked for protein once again, and your blood pressure may be checked too. Your doctor could also discuss the test results of any previous visits. Your midwife may measure the size of your uterus to monitor the growth of your baby.
8. Week 34
This is the time when you may be told about labour pains, how to differentiate between active and false labour, how to cope up with the labour and also how do you plan for your labour. Your doctor may also discuss normal and caesarean delivery. If there are any changes that you may have to undergo a C-section, your doctor will discuss the same with you. However, it may be too soon to decide at this stage about the kind of delivery that you may have. If you are rhesus negative, then you may be given your second shot of anti-D injection during this time.
9. Week 36
You are close to your delivery, and thus your doctor or midwife may like to share the following information with you:
- How to breastfeed your baby
- Any screening tests that may be required for your newborn baby
- How you may take care of your health after delivery
- You may also be told about postpartum depression or baby blues
Apart from discussing the above issues, your doctor or midwife will check the position of your baby. Your baby bump may be measured too. Your urine and blood pressure will again be checked again. Your baby bump or uterus may be measured as well.
9. Week 38
Your uterus may be measured to check the progress of your baby along with testing your urine for protein and checking your blood pressure too. At this stage, your doctor may like to discuss your options, in case your pregnancy goes beyond 41 weeks of pregnancy. You may feel all jittery and worried as you near your delivery, however, you should feel free to discuss any of your doubts and worries with your midwife or your doctor.
11. Week 40
This visit will be required in case it is your first-time pregnancy otherwise you may give this a miss. The routine urine tests, blood pressure check-up and the measurement of the uterus may take place. You may be given more information in case your pregnancy may be expected to go beyond 41 weeks.
12. Week 41
Though most women may go through labour during this time, however, sometimes women can experience no signs of labour till this time. In such cases, your doctor may offer you a membrane swipe. In case of first-time pregnancy, you may have had a membrane swipe once before at around 40 weeks antenatal visit. However, your doctor will ask you before conducting a membrane swipe again, and it may be totally your call. Apart from this, standard urine and blood work will be conducted. In the case of membrane sweep not being successful, your doctor may suggest you go for an induction. However, the decision always lies with you. If you do not wish to go ahead with labour induction, you may be offered regular monitoring by your doctor and midwife till you may go into labour.
Your doctor and midwife monitor your pregnancy to detect any risk factors that may affect your baby or you during your pregnancy journey. However, if you are facing any medical complications such as diabetes, hypertension or others, then your pregnancy may be closely monitored by your doctor and midwife.