What to Expect at Your Visits
Your first visit to our office will be with one of the Medical Assistants. They will review your medical history, pregnancy history and family history. They will also review educational material with you, including information about prenatal vitamins, and answer any of your initial questions about your pregnancy. At the completion of this visit they will give you paperwork to have prenatal labs drawn, which include checking your blood type, an anemia check, STD screening, including HIV and, if you elect, cystic fibrosis screening. You can find more information about this optional test here.
Your next visit will be with the physician you have chosen to provide your obstetric care. This usually includes a brief review of your history, a physical exam, including a pap and pelvic exam, and an ultrasound to confirm your due date and check your baby’s heartbeat. We will also review your prenatal lab results with you. This is a good chance to ask any questions you may initially have about you and your pregnancy.
If you are at high risk for Down Syndrome or other chromosome abnormalities, our office does offer nuchal translucency ultrasounds at 13 weeks. You and your physician will decide if this test is needed. More information about this test is found here.
Each visit with your doctor will include a check of your weight, blood pressure and an evaluation of your urine for glucose, protein and bacteria. We will also check the baby’s heartbeat and your uterine growth. These visits are good opportunities to get to know your doctor and get answers to any questions you have about the pregnancy.
Between 15 and 20 weeks you may elect to have the maternal quad screen done. This is a second trimester blood test for neural tube defects and chromosome problems. There are many false positives with this test, so it is a good idea to discuss it with your doctor. Our office also offers ultrasound-guided amniocentesis for women at high risk for a fetal chromosomal problem. This test is usually done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. Determining whether this test is needed is something you and your doctor will need to talk about. Click here to learn more about these tests.
At 20 weeks your physician will perform a detailed ultrasound to evaluate the anatomy of the baby. This is also the opportunity to check for the gender of the baby. Some physicians prefer a full bladder for this ultrasound, so ask your doctor’s medical assistant before you void at this appointment.
Between 24 and 28 weeks you will be given an order for labs to recheck for anemia, test for gestational diabetes and, if you are RH negative, have an antibody screen. Please follow the instructions regarding eating and drinking before these tests, otherwise you may have to return at another time. You do not need an appointment for the blood tests.
If you are RH negative and need a rhoGAM injection, this will be done at approximately 28 weeks. You may need another rhoGAM shot after the baby is born depending on the blood type of your baby.
During 24 and 28 weeks, you will also be given information to pre-register for the hospital. You do need an appointment, which may be made by calling 298-2229. Now is also a good time to begin thinking about childbirth classes, which can be found on St. Mary’s website
During the third trimester you will visit with your doctor more often. Between 28 and 36 weeks you will have an appointment every two weeks. You will then visit your doctor every week for the last month of the pregnancy.
During these visits we will check the growth of your baby and look for any complications of pregnancy that may be developing. It is important to discuss any problems you are having with your doctor, including pre-term contractions and a decrease in your baby’s movements. These visits are an opportune time to ask any questions you may have about when to go to the hospital, labor, pain medication options during labor and the delivery of your baby.
At 35 weeks to 37 weeks you will have a vaginal culture taken to check for Group B strep. If your test is positive, your doctor will discuss what treatment options are needed. At this point, you may also begin having your cervix checked for dilation. These exams are similar to the pelvic exam done during your first visit.