Once you have selected a care provider, it will be time to begin your regular routine of prenatal care. In most cases, the initial appointment will take place at around 8 weeks. This will be a lengthy visit as your doctor or midwife will need to get a thorough medical and family history, your menstrual history and a general feel for your health and your lifestyle.
At this time your doctor or midwife will also want to run some initial clinical tests including a pap smear; blood work to determine the presence of conditions like HIV/AIDS; a blood pressure reading; urine screen; breast exam and weight. Some of these, such as blood pressure and weight, will be repeated at each subsequent visit. As you progress through the pregnancy, your provider will begin to check Fundal height and beginning around 12 weeks, will listen for the baby’s heartbeat.
Your appointments will generally be scheduled every four weeks for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks of pregnancy, every week until 41 weeks and then every few days until you give birth. This may vary from woman to woman and if you have any complications which develop.
For some women, further testing may be necessary including Glucose Tolerance testing; Amniocentesis; Non Stress testing and Ultrasound, which is not routinely done for all pregnant women.
However your care progresses, the most important thing is to remember that you are an active participant in the process. This means you need to remain fully informed and you should never hesitate to ask any and all questions which may occur to you. If you are worried about forgetting what you want to ask at your next visit, write your questions down when you think of them. Also, be sure to bring someone else along with you to your visits as it can be helpful to have a second person hear the answers to avoid miscommunication.
Getting proper prenatal care is vital to maintaining a healthy pregnancy, so it is important that everyone involved is on the same page. Remember, you are all in this together and the better you work together, the better your chances of having a smooth and easy childbirth experience.
A Brief Overview Of Prenatal Care
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