Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, you will see the doctors at regular intervals to assess how you are doing. You will also be able to ask any questions you may have on the day of your appointment. The first visit carries additional significance, and it will also generally be the appointment that lasts the longest. At your very first prenatal visit, you will have a full discussion with your physician about your medical history, as well as your spouse’s medical history. You will also likely undergo a complete physical checkup, so that your doctor can have a baseline against which all other visits can be compared.
You will have your weight checked, your blood pressure, and you may also be screened for diabetes, rubella, hepatitis B, and anemia, as well as for any sexually transmitted diseases. This first visit can be fairly comprehensive and exhaustive, but it is necessary to establish your exact health status, because that will have a major impact on your baby’s health as well.
What Happens During a Prenatal Care Office Visit?
During later prenatal visits, your vital signs, weight, and overall health will be evaluated. Your physician will also monitor the growth of your baby to make sure they are meeting important developmental milestones. This is done by listening to your baby’s heart tones, measuring the growth of your uterus, and by ultrasound. You can expect your doctor to generally perform many of the same tests and checks, as well as any special tests that they feel may be needed.
Sometimes your physician will recommend a special test such as a gestational diabetes test, depending on your family’s medical history and your own age. In some instances, doctors will also recommend that you receive vaccinations against various infectious diseases such as whooping cough, to ensure these are not passed along to your infant. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines about which vaccines new mothers should receive during pregnancy, and your doctor will probably follow these guidelines in recommending vaccinations for you.
Does an Ultrasound Occur During These Visits?
In a normal pregnancy, you have two medically necessary ultrasounds — one during your first trimester and one at 20 weeks. Your doctor may recommend more for specific reasons. Whereas the parents may just want to find out the baby’s gender, a doctor may need an ultrasound to be sure of an accurate due date or to observe a fetal heartbeat.
Having an ultrasound performed is also a good way to check on the baby’s development, for instance the formation of arms, legs, heart, and to be sure that the kidneys are developing properly and are functioning normally. Sometimes an ultrasound is performed to confirm the placement of the placenta, and to take measurements of the baby.
An ultrasound can provide a great deal of information about the baby’s development, and is an accurate, non-invasive way to check for many problems that could occur during the course of pregnancy. Ultrasounds can be requested by the parents or recommended by the doctor, and in either case a wealth of information is generally provided about the developing infant.
Schedule Your Prenatal Office Visit Today
There is no reason for expectant mothers to have any fear or dread of prenatal visits, since these are all intended to demystify the whole process and to keep the mother well-informed about her baby’s development. Any expectant mothers living in North Texas should contact us at the North Texas Medical Center, so we can arrange your prenatal visit, and help you prepare for the birth of your infant, providing you with all the tools and information you will need as a new parent.