Guide to Prenatal Appointments

Woman getting an ultrasound at prenatal appointmentOnce you get pregnant, you'll probably become pretty chummy with the clinic receptionist. You will visit your clinic for prenatal appointments about 12 to 15 times throughout your 40 weeks of gestation. It's a lot. Here's a breakdown of what your visits will entail:

Visit One: This is a big one, so set aside some time. You'll want to schedule it as soon as you find out you're pregnant. You'll be asked to give your medical history, the doctor will estimate your due date, you'll have a physical (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.), blood tests, urine tests, and you'll discuss nutrition and other health concerns.

Other first-trimester exams: You'll hear the heartbeat, probably around ten or twelve weeks. And possibly have an Ultrasound. (Of course, each care provider is a little different, so ask your care provider what you can expect and when while you're at your first visit). Later in the first trimester, you'll have the option to test for Down syndrome. Also, just expect to provide a urine sample for every visit from now on.

Second trimester exams: Probably an ultrasound, if you haven't had one already. Make sure your bladder is fairly full! Your abdomen will be measured to estimate growth. You'll also have other options for screening for birth defects, such as an amniocentesis. Around 24 to 28 weeks, you will have the glucose tolerance test to see if you've developed gestational diabetes.

Third trimester exams: Possibly another ultrasound. Hepatitis B (another blood test– you'll be a pro by now). Also a group B strep screening done with a sterile swab used to collect a sample from the vagina and rectum. The doctor will determine whether the baby is breech around 36 weeks, and also if the head has dropped down to the pelvis. Your appointments will be closer together, too. Once you're 36 weeks, you'll probably have an appointment once a week.

There are a number of optional tests as well. Be sure to discuss the tests with your care provider and your partner.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of these prenatal appointments, here's a helpful tip: take a notebook or a journal with you. Write down all the questions you have and bring the journal with you to the appointments. Then jot down notes so that you'll remember the answers later (baby brain is a very real thing!). Also, write down other insights in your journal, such as your feelings or when you felt movement. Your partner will feel like part of the team, and you'll feel like you have a little control.

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Guide to Prenatal Appointments

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31 comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Can’t wait for my first ultrasound on Friday!

  2. Courtney says:

    I think the lady in the video is nervous, and hard to watch! I also think you should have a link to the materials mentioned in the video. First trimester checklist (mentioned in 6 weeks video) isn’t linked after you’re done watching.

  3. Andrea says:

    My first appointment is in a couple weeks & I can’t wait! I only wish my mom & grandmother could be here for a visit during my first month of appointments

  4. VVanNess says:

    I’m not sure I like the idea of all of the needles or the rectum swab. lol Is there a way to just say no when a doctor discusses a test?

    • Kimberly says:

      You always have the right to say no, just remember that there is a valid reason for every test. Some of them may be more applicable to your situation that others. The swab tests to see if you carry the bacteria that is the most often cause of newborn sepsis, which can be deadly. And is doesn’t swab your entire rectum, it barely goes inside.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Group B strep is a vaginal/rectal swab, not a blood test. Also, “generational” diabetes? Please do a little fact checking and proof reading!

  6. Alanna says:

    I look forward to my prenatal appointments.

  7. sheenaholman says:

    I love going frequently and hearing the heartbeat.

  8. Phammom says:

    We started going in at 5 weeks pregnant. I was very stressed because of a miscarriage I had before.

  9. I went to my doctor a lot. I knew that you had to go to check ups a lot but it was crazy! It was so fabulous to hear my sons heartbeat!

  10. KaelinRae says:

    I had my first appointment at 8 weeks and the baby’s heartbeat was very strong. So far he has checked the heartbeat at every visit and I think it is one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.

  11. My second pre-natal appointment at about 12 weeks went by so fast I barely felt like I had time to even ask any questions! But I guess no news is good news.

  12. MamaCat says:

    I sometimes feel like I live at my doctors office but I love him, my MA Morgan and all the staff. They treat me like family and I love it.

  13. Stephanie says:

    I’m overwhelmed with everything around this Time now just beacause it’s new again after 9yrs with my daughter now having my son in about 12days it’s scary the thought of having another but every week I ask as much questions as I can and my doctor always reassure me everything is ok thank God

  14. Anber says:

    I don’t mind the visits. They are quite reassuring in that they tell me that everything is fine.

  15. Valerie says:

    I have to see a doctor about every two weeks. I see my regular doctor, and then i also have to see a specialist because I am epileptic. I don’t mind the extra visits one bit because I get many more ultrasounds, and its always magical to see my son(:

  16. Faleshia says:

    wow i forgot how many appointments i needed to go to when i got pregnant. but we are in the home stretch now!!

  17. Julie says:

    I am starting my weekly appointments now! Only one month left!!

  18. Julie says:

    I didn’t feel my baby at 12 weeks. The only way I REALLY knew she was in there was when I went to the doctor and we listened to her heartbeat on the Doppler.

  19. tiffany says:

    should i feel my baby move at 12 weeks

  20. marichinno says:

    My last pregnancy was 5 years ago and that I am pregnant my doctor visits are different. My favorite part of doctor visits is hearing the baby’s heart beat cause I know everything is fine.

  21. maretondo says:

    it is very important to go to all of your prenatal appt

  22. Bhumphr6 says:

    good to know!!! thank you

  23. McKenzie says:

    This was very good info to know thank you!

  24. Trincess26 says:

    This information was very useful and helpful. Thanks

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