How many prenatal appointments can I expect to have during pregnancy?
Depending on when you find out you’re pregnant and have your first prenatal visit, you’ll have a total of about 10 to 15 appointments. In most complication-free pregnancies, you can expect to have a prenatal appointment following the below schedule:
- Weeks 4 to 28: Once a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: Every other week
- Week 36 until birth: Every week
The frequency of prenatal appointments increases in the third trimester because pregnancy complications like preeclampsia are more likely to occur during that time. Issues with your baby’s growth also tend to appear later in pregnancy, so your practitioner will also want to measure your weight, belly size and other growth indicators more frequently in the last trimester. You may see your practitioner more often if you have any risk factors or if you gave birth early or late in a previous pregnancy.
What kinds of tests will I have at my prenatal appointments?
Throughout your pregnancy, you can expect a number of prenatal tests. At every prenatal appointment, your practitioner will:
- Take your blood pressure
- Weigh you
- Take a urine sample to check for too much protein (a sign of preeclampsia) or sugar (a sign of gestational diabetes)
- Check for swelling in your hands, feet or face
- Listen to your baby’s heartbeat (from week 12 on, though it can be heard on a Doppler device as early as week 10)
Other tests you’ll get during various visits vary according to your risk for certain conditions and may include:
- Pelvic exams
- Breast exams
- Pap smear
- Ultrasounds and Doppler scans
- Blood tests (to check your HCG levels and to screen for Rh factor and anemia, among other conditions)
- Glucose screenings
- Group B strep
- Nonstress tests
- Biophysical profile
- Nuchal translucency screening
Based on your risk factors (usually your age, ethnic background or family history), your practitioner may also recommend one of several prenatal genetic tests and screenings to check for chromosomal abnormalities that cause conditions like Down Syndrome. Blood screenings may include noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and the quad screen, both of which indicate whether your baby is at greater risk of a genetic abnormality.
What will I talk about during prenatal visits?
Each time you visit, take this opportunity to stay informed about your pregnancy:
- Ask how you’re doing physically and emotionally
- Answer all of your questions
- Offer tips on caring for yourself and your baby-to-be
- Give you a heads-up about changes to expect and red flags to look for before your next visit
What to avoid eating in pregnancy?
- High mercury fish. This includes shark, king mackerel, tuna (especially albacore), swordfish, and tile fish. Low mercury containing fish are healthy and can be eaten up to 2 times a week.
- Undercooked or raw fish. Do not eat sushi with raw fish or shellfish raw in pregnancy. Consumption of these undercooked or raw fish can cause viral, bacterial or parasitic infections, such as norovirus, vibrio, salmonella and listeria.
- Undercooked, raw and processed meat. Eating undercooked or raw meat increases your risk of infection from several bacteria or parasites, including toxoplasma, E. Coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
- Raw Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella.
- Organ meat is a great source of several nutrients, including iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A and copper. However, too much vitamin A in pregnancy is not recommended and may result in birth defects and liver toxicity.
- Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and cocoa.
- Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg per day or about 2 cups of coffee.
- Raw sprouts including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts may be contaminated with salmonella.
- Unwashed produce or unpeeled fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites.
- Unpasteurized milk, cheese and fruit juice can carry an array of harmful bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, E.Coli and Campylobacter.
For further information on pregnancy or for any questions we invite you to call our office or visit our Patient Resources page on our website.
The Staff at West Orange Women’s Center
Serving the Ocoee, Winter Garden, Winderere, FL areas