The following is a guide to the various activities during the course of your prenatal care.
Positive Pregnancy Test
Call our office and arrange your first visit. You will be asked to fill out demographic and medical forms to create or update your medical record. These are available through web links to our electronic medical record. It can be a little tedious, but your effort makes our office run smoothly and greatly reduces wait times for your appointments.
First Visit (Usually 4-6 weeks gestation)
We will update your medical history and blood work with nursing staff. Our excellent nurses will identify possible early risks to your pregnancy and any interventions that need to be made outside the routine appointment schedule. You will get a “goody bag” with lots of information about local services, as well as the book “What to Expect When Expecting”, a resource so valuable that our physicians make sure our patients have it in their possession.
Second Visit (Usually 8-10 weeks gestation)
You will have a physical exam with your physician including annual exam, pap smear, and cultures for gonorrhea and chlamydia as recommended for all pregnant women. Your physician will review your lab results and discuss healthy practices in your pregnancy. A plan of obstetric care will be formulated and an ultrasound will be performed to make certain that your baby’s estimated due date is correct.
Third Visit (Usually 12-14 weeks gestation)
Your physician will re-examine issues like diet, hydration, and education – so be prepared to be quizzed. If time and resources allow, an informal ultrasound may be performed. Our providers believe that mother/baby bonding can be increased with this low risk procedure.
Fourth Visit (Usually 16-18 weeks gestation)
You will be offered the Quad screen or MSAFP test, which is a blood test to determine if your baby has an increased risk of Down Syndrome or Spina Bifida. At times, a quick-look ultrasound may be done. Often the baby’s gender can be guessed; remember, it is ALWAYS a guess until the baby is born.
20-22 Weeks Gestation
You will have a formal ultrasound by our highly-trained sonographer to evaluate the developmental process and determine the sex of the baby if possible. You will usually meet with the doctors after your ultrasound to review the findings. Detailed instructions will be provided for the glucose tolerance test at your next appointment. Now is a good time to schedule future birthing classes as they often fill up due to limited space.
24-28 Weeks Gestation
You will have a 1-hour glucose tolerance test to rule out gestational diabetes. If circumstances allow, we like to have you drink the glucose drink (Glucola) at home early in the morning. You will have a Rhogam injection if your blood type is RH-negative. This will be determined when we do your prenatal lab work. Either the physician or the nurse will make you aware of these results.
28-34 Weeks Gestation
Appointments will be made every two weeks to keep a closer watch during the third trimester, the time when preterm labor or blood pressure issues can complicate your pregnancy. You will also have a hemoglobin determination to check for anemia, which occurs often in pregnancy. You will be asked to pick a provider for your baby, as obstetricians cannot offer this service.
35-37 Weeks Gestation
You may have another ultrasound done to estimate the weight and ensure the position of your baby. You will also have a Group B Strep culture done which is a vaginal culture done to determine if you harbor this bacteria. This strain of bacteria is not sexually transmitted nor much of a problem for adults. However, It can be an issue for newborns. If you test positive for Group B Strep you will be given antibiotics during labor to lessen the chance of your baby acquiring a strep infection.
Starting at 36 Weeks Gestation
You will be seen every week. Since the final month of your pregnancy is often the busiest, these weekly appointments will be arranged at your 36-week visit. Cervical exams will often be performed to help you have more information about when to come to the hospital.