Congratulations! After you’ve cried, celebrated, called your partner, and cried some more, calling your doctor is among the first things you do after finding out that you’re pregnant.
Even if you want to keep your pregnancy a secret, your healthcare provider needs to be there to help you. Prenatal visits are put in place to analyze and protect the growth of your baby and keep you healthy and well.
At every step of the way, you'll have access to resources to help with your education, mental health, and physical health. During the process of your pregnancy, prenatal visits help you, your family, and your doctor prepare for the birth of your new addition!
With everything you have going on right now, we understand how annoying this extra attention can be. You have to rearrange work and school, move your life around, and adjust to the impending appointments for the rest of your pregnancy!
We’re here to help. We’ve compiled the ultimate prenatal visit schedule that will help you get it together and plan your pregnancy just right!
The first trimester is probably the most important and anxiety-ridden part of pregnancy. The vitality of your baby is crucial, and you’re still trying to get used to your hormones wreaking havoc on your body and emotions.
When you call your doctor and tell them that you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, they’ll set an appointment for you to come in on the assumed 8th week. At that point, you will be two months pregnant. It is useful to know when you believe you may have conceived or when your last period began.
Most likely, your first visit will be the most in-depth of all your prenatal visits. They will check your vitals, of course, and run you through a battery of tests, exams, and questions. Aside from blood draws and urine samples, though, you’ll be safe from anything too invasive. Most likely, you'll get an ultrasound to make sure you're pregnant and that the baby is healthy.
Once your pregnancy has been confirmed and a due date has been set, they’ll begin scheduling your future appointments.
You will only need one prenatal visit per month for a while. The first trimester lasts until the 13th week of your pregnancy, which is about 3 and a half months. If you can make it to the doctor by week 8, then you will only have one more appointment during your first trimester.
Your next (and last) appointment during the first trimester will just serve as a check-up. Your progress will be tracked, and you can ask an expert any questions you have.
The second trimester lasts from week 13 to week 26 of your pregnancy. This will be between your 3rd and 6th months of pregnancy. The second trimester will require just one appointment per month, much like the first trimester. This will total about three more appointments.
During each appointment, your doctor will likely use a fetal Doppler to check the heart rate and monitor its speed and strength. Your vitals will continue to be checked, with an extra close look at your blood pressure to see any signs of hypertension. You can also check your baby’s heart rate at home in between appointments with a fetal Doppler.
The second trimester is exciting! You’re probably over the initial nervousness and sickness from the first trimester. Plus, you’ll be able to see your baby again during this part of your pregnancy!
An ultrasound will be scheduled around the 5th or 6th total prenatal visit. At this time, doctors will be able to examine your baby’s vital organs. This is an exciting and gratifying moment in your pregnancy!
They’ll look for all four heart chambers and their functionality. They’ll show you your baby’s brain, spine, umbilical cord, gender, heart, and more! If you have a mover, you might get lucky and watch them in action!
At this point, you will have had a total of around six appointments.
The third trimester lasts from week 26 until your due date. This is the final stretch!
The first half of the third trimester will require an appointment every other week. So, from weeks 26 to 36, you’ll have about five more visits.
Doctors will be more vigilant with your health since the baby is truly beginning to take a toll on your physical body. Your belly will be measured, and you can expect more Doppler readings and weight checks during each visit.
If you haven’t already, you’ll be taking a glucose screening around the 7th or 8th total visit. This will just consist of drinking a sugary drink and then having your blood drawn to check for gestational diabetes. For this appointment, it’s recommended not to eat anything heavy until after the test has concluded. To keep yourself from starving all day, make this appointment in the morning!
As your due date approaches, you’ll start going to your prenatal appointments once a week! These are normal check-ups as well, to make sure your blood pressure is still holding up. If your blood pressure is acting up, they may schedule you to be induced! Otherwise, the next time you see your doctor, your baby will be on its way!
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