What happens during prenatal visits varies depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Schedule your first prenatal visit as soon as you think you are pregnant, even if you have confirmed your pregnancy with a home pregnancy test. Early and regular prenatal visits help your health care provider monitor your health and the growth of the fetus.
Your first prenatal visit will probably be scheduled sometime after your eighth week of pregnancy. Most health care providers won’t schedule a visit any earlier unless you have a medical condition, have had problems with a pregnancy in the past, or have symptoms such as spotting or bleeding, stomach pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.1
Because your first visit will be one of your longest, allow plenty of time.
During the visit, you can expect your health care provider to do the following:2
If your pregnancy is healthy, your health care provider will set up a regular schedule for visits that will probably look about like this:2
As your pregnancy progresses, your prenatal visits will vary greatly. During most visits, you can expect your health care provider to do the following:
Several of these visits will include special tests to check for gestational diabetes (between 24 and 28 weeks)4 and other conditions, depending on your age and family history.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics released new vaccine guidelines for 2013, including a recommendation for pregnant women to receive a booster of whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine. The guidelines recommend the shot be given between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.5
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