The Schedule of Doctor Visits During Pregnancy
There are many doctor visits during pregnancy. Your doctor will check to see that your baby is growing healthy and strong, and that you are healthy, too.
“Your schedule may be different if you have a different kind of pregnancy, like if you have diabetes, or if you’re having twins,” says G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D. Ruiz is an ob-gyn at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, in Fountain Valley, California.
This is what it looks like for most people:
Up to 27 Weeks: 1 Visit a Month
It is good to call a doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant. The first visit is often around six to 10 weeks into your pregnancy. “Your doctor will ask about the date of your last period,” says Teresa Hoffman, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. This will help them set your due date.
Here are some tests your doctor may do:
- Ultrasound. This lets the doctor see a picture of your baby. A device will be placed over your belly or in your vagina, depending on how far along you are.
- Blood test and urine test. These are used to check that you and your baby are healthy. They also look for infection. Your doctor will draw blood from you with a small needle. You will have to pee in a cup.
- Blood pressure and weight check. These are needed to make sure things look good and healthy.
- Baby’s heartbeat check. This is done with a device that your doctor will hold against your belly to listen to the baby’s heartbeat.
You will have some new tests in the middle of your pregnancy:
- Blood test. Your doctor needs to check for diabetes during pregnancy. This happens between 24 and 28 weeks. You will drink a special juice and have your blood drawn.
- Special ultrasound. This is done around 20 weeks to make sure your baby’s body parts and organs, like kidneys and heart, are growing well. This is halfway through the pregnancy, Hoffman says.
Weeks 28–36: Once Every 2 to 3 Weeks
The third trimester lasts from week 28 until you give birth. You will see your doctor more often.
Your doctor will keep checking on you and your baby.
You may get shots to protect your baby from getting sick. Your doctor will do a group B strep test around week 36. This is done using a swab in your vagina. If the test is positive, your doctor will give you medicine to take during labor.
Week 36 and On: Once a Week
You will have a weekly appointment in late pregnancy. Your doctor may do an exam through your vagina. They are checking your cervix to see if you are close to giving birth and to see if your baby is head down. That makes it safer for your baby to come out.
Some people do not give birth within 40 weeks. If that happens, your doctor will do another test to make sure your baby is okay. They may also talk to you about inducing you. That means taking steps to make labor start.
You will see your doctor many times during pregnancy. That is so they can help you have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
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