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What Happens at Each Prenatal Visit? Find Out Here

What Happens at Each Prenatal Visit? Find Out Here

Going to your first prenatal visit can feel a bit daunting. This is especially true for first-time parents who have no idea of what happens at each prenatal visit.

This is why we made this handy guide that to help you know what to expect during your visits.

What happens at each prenatal visit?

For the most part, what happens at each prenatal visit is roughly the same. However, there are some changes that happen depending on how far along you are with your pregnancy.

A Guide To The First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Your first visit

Your first prenatal visit ideally takes place the soonest you learn or suspect pregnancyThis visit usually lasts the longest because thorough history taking and physical examination are done. There are basic laboratory tests, aside from pelvic ultrasound, that will be requested..

For your complete history, your doctor will ask about your family’s medical history as well, apart from your known medical condition, allergies, previous operation or hospitalization, and vaccination history..

You’ll also undergo a breast exam, pelvic exam, a Pap test, STD testing, as well as screening for certain diseases if warranted. Afterwards, your doctor will give you advice on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy. They’ll also give you recommendations on what supplements you will need, and what you can do to make sure your baby grows and develops well.

Prenatal visit during the first trimester

Prenatal visits during the first trimester usually happen 4 weeks after the initial visit unless there is indication to request for an earlier check-up (i.e. vaginal spotting, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite etc.). These visits are shorter compared to the first one, and your doctor will monitor your blood pressure, weight, and overall health. This is also the time to show the results of the requested laboratory tests. Follow up during the first trimester may also be done online if there is no contractions, bleeding, or unusual vaginal discharge. With the pandemic, face to face clinic visits may be limited.

If you have any questions, or concerns, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor about it.

A Guide To The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

During the second trimester

When you’re in the second trimester of your pregnancy, most of what happens is the same as the first trimester. This means that your weight and blood pressure will be checked to make sure they’re still within the healthy range. Checking for fetal heart beat using dopplers or stethoscope will be added during this time.

Your doctor will also track your baby’s growth by measuring the fundic height which is the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. This can help give them an idea of roughly how big your baby is, and if their growth is appropriate.

A repeat ultrasound during your second trimester will also be requested to check for the fetal biometry. This helps your doctor check your baby’s development, and sometimes even lets you know your baby’s sex. For high-risk pregnancies, a congenital anomaly scan may be requested. This is a much thorough ultrasound work-up to check for any fetal anatomic problem..

Laboratory tests that may be requested are any of the following:

  • 75g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to check for gestational diabetes. This is best done between 24-28 weeks. It may be earlier for those with strong predisposition to diabetes. Other tests for blood sugar levels are HBA1C (Hemoglobin A1C) and fasting blood glucose.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) may be repeated if anemia is suspected.
  • Urinalysis if with preterm contractions

Visits may be at 4-weeks interval although it could be shorter for high risk pregnancies and longer for low risk pregnancies. For uncomplicated pregnancies, telemedicine will suffice.

During the third trimester

A prenatal visit during the third trimester is similar to the first two trimesters, but might also include a pelvic exam. Your doctor may do a speculum exam if you have abnormal discharge (if watery, foul-smelling, or yellow-green). They might also do an internal examination starting 37 weeks onwards when your pregnancy is already deemed term. This helps your doctor know what position your newborn baby is in, which is important as you get closer to your due date.

Additionally, from 36 weeks onwards, you’ll need to visit your doctor weekly, instead of every 2-4 weeks.

Your doctor may also ask you to get a test for group B streptococcus, as mothers who have this disease can potentially infect their baby when they give birth vaginally. Aside from these things, you should also do your best to monitor your baby’s movement. If you notice any changes, such as a decline in your baby’s activity, be sure to tell your doctor about it.

Key Takeaways

It’s important to make the most of each prenatal visit. This means that if you have any questions or concerns, now is the time to ask your doctor about it. It might even be a good idea to list them down so you don’t forget!

Remember, it is important to always go to each prenatal visit. This helps your doctor closely monitor your baby’s development, and ensure that there will be no problems when you give birth.

Learn more about Prenatal Care here.

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Due Date Calculator

Use this calculator to find your due date. This is just an estimate – not a guarantee! Most women, but not all, will deliver their babies within a week before or after this date range.

Cycle Length

28 days

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

What Happens at a Prenatal Care Check-Up Appointment?, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/prenatal-care/what-happens-prenatal-care-appointments, Accessed March 2, 2021

What happens during prenatal visits? | NICHD – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/conditioninfo/prenatal-visits, Accessed March 2, 2021

Schedule of Prenatal Care | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing, https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/holistic-pregnancy-childbirth/schedule-prenatal-care, Accessed March 2, 2021

Prenatal Visits – Janesville – Mayo Clinic Health System, https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/janesville/services-and-treatments/obstetrics-and-gynecology/ob-gyn-services/prenatal-visits, Accessed March 2, 2021

Pregnant? Here’s What to Expect During Prenatal Care Visits, https://giffordhealthcare.org/pregnant-heres-what-to-expect-during-prenatal-care-visits/, Accessed March 2, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 08
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D.
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