Follow Your Recommended Schedule Of Visits
If your pregnancy is free of complications and your overall health is normal, youre likely to have about 15 prenatal visits during your pregnancy. Your visits are scheduled closer together as your pregnancy progresses.
Most women have a schedule of prenatal visits that follows this timing:
- One visit every four weeks during weeks 4-28 of pregnancy
- One visit every two weeks during weeks 28-36 of pregnancy
- One visit every week during weeks 36-40 of pregnancy
This schedule is only a guide. We may require more appointments with less time between visits if you have preexisting medical conditions or other issues associated with a high risk of complications.
How To Start Trying To Conceive
Your healthcare provider might have specific recommendations for the best ways to increase your chances of overlapping sex with the time of your cycle when youre the most fertile: the five days leading up to and the day of ovulation .
Depending on your healthcare provider, they might mention tracking ovulation to identify your fertile window. You can do this by monitoring ovulation test results, cervical mucus, or basal body temperature . You can absolutely ask for your healthcare provider to walk you through each of these methods, but heres a refresher in case youre curious now:
- Ovulation testsdetect luteinizing hormone in your urine, which surges about 24-48 hours before ovulation. Other than an ultrasound, ovulation tests are one of the most accurate ovulation predictors because they rely on the biological factors that are directly involved in the eggs release.
- Cervical mucus trackinginvolves looking at the changes in the fluid produced by your cervix to pinpoint where you are in your menstrual cycle.
- BBT trackinguses your basal body temperature to identify natural changes that indicate ovulation has occurred. Note that BBT is affected by a whole host of factors, making body temperature alone not a super accurate marker of ovulation.
Questions to ask:
Understand What To Expect
After your first appointment, your prenatal visits include a physical exam and tests specific to your medical condition and stage of pregnancy. As you progress through your pregnancy, your visits may change to monitor specific medical conditions or physical changes affecting you or your baby.
A typical prenatal visit includes:
- Measurement of your weight and blood pressure
- Urine test for signs of complications including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and urinary tract infections
- Measurement of your abdomen to chart your babys growth
- Doppler ultrasound to monitor your babys heart rate
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Who Will I Work With At My First Prenatal Appointment
Midwives are registered nurses with an advanced degree in midwifery. Our midwives offer continuous, holistic support during pregnancy and birth. They specialize in medication-free labor support for low-risk pregnancies. However, they are also able to offer pain medication and collaborate closely with OB/GYNs to address any complications that arise.
OB/GYNs provide prenatal care for both low- and high-risk pregnancies, including caesarean sections. Family practice physicians care for patients of all ages, and some are also trained to provide prenatal and delivery care. Some also do cesarean births and manage high-risk pregnancies. We also offer a shared care model, where patients work with their family medicine physician for prenatal care and then an OB/GYN or midwife delivers the baby.
Patients who would like to work with a Certified Nurse Midwife for prenatal care as well may meet with the midwife as early as eight weeks after the first day of their last period and may not have an initial phone visit with a nurse this varies by location.
Attend All Prenatal Doctor Appointments
First and foremost, Dr. Alzein recommends that expectant mothers call their OBGYN to set up the first prenatal appointment as soon as an at-home pregnancy test indicates a Yes. Just as importantly, moms should attend all scheduled appointments after that. For an uncomplicated pregnancy with zero concerns, Dr. Alzein says, patients can expect to attend 15 prenatal appointments on average. This data gathered at each appointment is considered at each subsequent appointment, forming a complete picture of the pregnancy in case there are complications during labor.
Equally important as attending these appointments is following all the specific instructions that moms are given. Dr. Alzein advises pregnant women to get all recommended vaccines, including the Whooping Cough vaccine given in the third trimester, the flu shot during flu season, and a COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccinations not only give Mom protection against illness and serious complications, but it also helps protect Baby from unnecessary stress.
As of August 2021, the CDC has recommended pregnant women, or women who are intending to become pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Studies have not found any evidence that suggests the vaccine puts pregnant women or their baby at risk. Studies have proved contracting COVID-19 increases the risk of miscarriage, and the vaccine actually protects against miscarriage.
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How Often Do You Need Prenatal Visits We Have Answers
Consistent prenatal care is important for both your health and your child’s. By consistently attending appointments, baby’s growth is closely monitored, and you have many opportunities to ask questions.
While some high-risk pregnancies require additional visits or tests, the following is a typical prenatal care schedule for a routine pregnancy.
What Should I Do While I Wait For My Gp Appointment
Carry on as normal! And, if youre not taking folic-acid supplements, nows the time to start.
Youll probably find yourself paying closer attention to your lifestyle and diet. Youll also find there are lots of people giving you advice about what you can and cant do and often theyll tell you different things!
So, weve made it clearer with lots of Whats Safe info thats regularly updated with the very latest research:
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Choose A Caregiver And Make Your First Appointment
If you opt for private care then you have a few choices to make. Who your prenatal caregiver will be is a highly personal choice, whether its an obstetrician, GP or midwife.
Your first appointment is usually scheduled for around the eight week mark. The heartbeat is usually visible from six weeks, or two weeks after the missed period, and many doctors will schedule the first appointment after this, says Dr Zinn.
When it comes to government hospitals, youll need to go to the one nearest to where you live. Or you can visit a Midwife Obstetric Unit if there is one nearby.
Either way, you will most likely give birth with the help of a midwife, unless your pregnancy runs into complications. In this situation you will be transferred to an academic training hospital. At your first appointment you will get your clinic card.
This card will be filled out at each appointment and must remain with you throughout the pregnancy. When given an appointment date, make sure to stick to it as there are long waiting lists if you miss one.
Lifestyle Changes Or Adjustments
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about modifications you can make to increase your chances of conception, like moderating alcohol and coffee consumption or quitting smoking.
The research is mixed around drinking alcohol while trying to get pregnant many studies show that having 1-2 drinks a day wont affect fertility, while some show that this level of moderate drinking can be harmful. That said, if you get pregnant, ACOG says no to drinking any amount of alcohol.
If youre a heavy caffeine drinker, your healthcare provider might recommend cutting back to 1-2 cups of coffee a day.
When it comes to smoking, the science is pretty clear: Smoking cigarettes adversely affects fertility in both people with ovaries and people with sperm. That said, quitting can make a huge difference and pretty quickly. In just three months after quitting, positive changes can be observed in egg quality.
Questions to ask:
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So When Should I Go To The Doctor For Pregnancy For My First Appointment
If you believe youre pregnant and have taken a home pregnancy test that gave a positive result, you can call your doctor to schedule your first appointment. At your first visit, you will be administered a pregnancy test to officially confirm your pregnancy. If youre unsure about the reliability of your home pregnancy test, it is a good idea to make an appointment anyway so that you can get proper confirmation.
Typically, you should go to a doctor for pregnancy for your first prenatal exam between 6 and 8 weeks after your last period. However, you should go to the doctor for pregnancy-related appointments or at least call to speak to a physician, at any point if you have any doubts or concerns.
Schedule Regular Moderate Exercise
When Mom exercised regularly prior to pregnancy, they should talk to their healthcare provider about an exercise routine during pregnancy. This is not the time to dramatically change up your exercise routine, take up professional weight lifting or achieve a best time running an ultra-marathon. Usually, continuing your typical exercise routine under your doctors supervision is safe.
When Mom has been more sedentary, exercising infrequently, Dr. Alzein recommends you develop the habit of walking regularly. Start slowly, for about five minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes of activity a day. This activity could be a brisk walk, gardening, or gentle prenatal yoga.
Engaging in physical activity will benefit a pregnancy by:
- Reducing back pain
- Aids in digestion, reducing constipation
- May decrease the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Strengthens the heart and blood vessels
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Get Ready To Answer Mental Health And Lifestyle Questions
Most prenatal healthcare providers will ask some questions about your mental health, both currently and in the past. Theyll want to know about risk factors, such as your history of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We want to identify if there is anything in this persons experience in the past that will affect their care going forward and if any additional supports are needed,says Murray-Davis. Your healthcare provider will also ask and answer questions about your diet, exercise routine, sexual activity and travel. Theyll talk to you about the importance of taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid regularly to prevent neural tube defects and counsel you on avoiding certain foods and drinks . If youre wondering whether you can keep training for that 10K or book a babymoon in a tropical locale, now is the time to ask.
Twin Pregnancy: Special Concerns
Many women deliver healthy twins, but a multiple birth needs extra attention and care. Your doctor will focus on some key areas during your prenatal visits:
Proper nutrition and weight gain. Given that youre carrying two little ones, you’ll need to gain more weight than a woman carrying a single baby. A normal amount of weight gain for a woman carrying twins is between 35 to 45 pounds. Your doctor will talk with you about exactly how much weight you should gain, what types of foods you should eat, and what supplements to take.
Preterm labor. Preterm labor, or labor that starts before the end of the 37th week, is the biggest health concern for twin pregnancies. Premature babies have a higher risk for health problems than babies that go full term. About half of all twins are born preterm. Your doctor will review signs of preterm labor with you and watch carefully during your prenatal visits for any signs of preterm labor.
Your health risks. A twin pregnancy raises your risk for high blood pressure, anemia, gestational diabetes, and needing a C-section compared with someone carrying a single child. Your doctor will monitor you for these conditions during your prenatal visits.
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How Many Antenatal Appointments
Your doctor or midwife will give you a plan of appointments at your first pregnancy visit. This might change as your pregnancy progresses.
If you find out youre pregnant within the first six weeks of pregnancy and you have a low-risk pregnancy, youll probably have around 10-12 appointments with your doctor or midwife during your pregnancy if its your first baby.
You might have around 7-10 appointments if youve had a previous pregnancy with no complications.
Many women have visits every 4-6 weeks until 28 weeks of pregnancy, then visits every 2-3 weeks until 36 weeks of pregnancy. After this, youll probably have weekly or fortnightly visits until birth.
The number and timing of pregnancy appointments could be more or less than this, depending on your health and your babys health. For example, if you have a high-risk pregnancy you might have more pregnancy appointments. Your doctor or midwife will talk with you about the appointments you need and why.
Some women experience high levels of worry or stress during pregnancy. Seeing your midwife or doctor more frequently can help with managing stress or other concerns during pregnancy. You can ask your midwife or doctor about whether more pregnancy appointments might be good for you.
How Often Will You Have Follow
The standard of care during pregnancy is the same for all healthcare providers. From the beginning of pregnancy until 28 weeks, youll have an appointment every four weeks. Starting at 28 weeks, youll see your healthcare provider every two weeks and then, at 36 weeks, youll check in weekly until your baby is born.
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Youll Be Sent To The Lab For A Complete Workup
Your doctor or midwife will give you a requisition for comprehensive blood work to assess your complete blood count and blood type . You will also have routine public health screenings through blood work for rubella, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV.
How prenatal counselling can help you through pregnancyYour healthcare provider may order additional blood work based on your lifestyle and health history, such as checking your chickenpox status and thyroid levels. If youre a vegetarian, they might check your vitamin B12 levels. If youve experienced hypertension in the past, your healthcare provider might want to check your kidney function with a creatinine test. Based on your ethnic background and other risk factors, they may also screen for diseases such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
If that wasnt thorough enough, youll get to pee in a cup so that the lab can test for sexually transmitted infections , such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, and look for anything abnormal in your urine, such as white blood cells, glucose and proteins that can indicate a risk of infection, diabetes or pre-eclampsia. If you have other STIs, such as genital herpes, this is important information to share as it may affect how you deliver .
What Should An Employee Do When Booking Their Appointments
As far as its possible, employees should attempt to schedule their appointments for times when theyre not working. This minimises disruption in the workplace.
Employers need to be aware that this isnt always possible. Many GP surgeries offer appointments from 9am-5pm, with little scope for an out of hours service.
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Your Weight And Conception
People of all weights and sizes have gotten pregnant and gone on to have healthy pregnancies. That said, big weight fluctuations in either direction can affect your hormones and make getting pregnant more difficult additionally, lower or higher body-fat percentages could also have an impact.
Your healthcare provider will likely discuss your weight and how it might play a role in your chances of conception or your pregnancy. They may also discuss how much weight gained during pregnancy can be expected based on your current weight. Its important to remember, though, that all bodies are totally unique your healthcare provider is here to answer your questions and give advice based on the data around other peoples experiences.
Questions to ask:
What Changes To My Body Can I Expect During My Pregnancy
Theres no getting around it your body will change a lot during your pregnancy. Youll go through lots of hormonal changes, and youll get bigger as the fetus develops. Your uterus will grows up to 18 times its normal size, and your breasts and nipples will probably get larger, too.
Its normal to gain up to 35 pounds during your pregnancy, and some people may gain more. Your sex drive can increase or decrease throughout your pregnancy. And some people notice changes in the texture and amount of their body hair.
Unfortunately, almost everyone feels uncomfortable at some point in their pregnancy. Some common issues include:
nausea or vomiting, especially in the morning
swollen and tender breasts
aches and pains in your lower back and hips
tiredness and fatigue
There are things you can do to feel more comfortable, like changing your diet, and doing certain exercises. Your doctor, nurse, or midwife will have tips for feeling better during your pregnancy.
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