Appointments and Prenatal Care
Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first day of your last menstrual period, totaling 40 weeks. A full term pregnancy can deliver between 37 and 42 weeks.
Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, the prenatal period officially begins! Prenatal care involves a series of regular examinations and tests under your doctor’s supervision. In an uncomplicated pregnancy, most women will see their doctor once a month until 32 weeks. At that point, you will be seen every 2 weeks until 34 to 35 weeks. Then you will be seen weekly until delivery.
The initial prenatal visit is often the longest. During this visit, I will take a detailed medical & obstetrical history. We will review your prenatal labs drawn after your confirmation of pregnancy visit. Lastly, I will answer any questions you may have.
Subsequent prenatal visits are much shorter and include a measurement of your weight, urine testing, a blood pressure check, a fundal height check and listening to your baby’s heart beat.
Prenatal Labs and Testing
Labs drawn after your first visit:
- Blood typing – This test determines your blood & Rh type. If your blood is Rh negative, special monitoring of your blood may be necessary to check for Rh incompatibility.
- Antibody Screen – This detects unusual antibodies that my have arisen in your prior pregnancies or from blood transfusions.
- CBC (complete blood count) – This test checks your blood to determine if you are anemic. Women usually become slightly anemic as pregnancy progresses, but very low levels require treatment. Platelet levels are also assessed. An adequate number of platelets are needed to help stop bleeding.
- Rubella test (German measles) – An antibody test to determine if you are protected from Rubella.
- Syphilis screening (RPR) – Tests for exposure to syphilis in past or an active infection. If present, treatment can be initiated so that the fetus is not harmed.
- Hepatitis B (HBsAg) – Checks for infection with the Hepatitis B virus which can be passed to the unborn child.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – If there is an infection, you can be treated during the pregnancy which will reduce the likelihood of passing the virus to your unborn child.
- Urine culture – This checks for an asymptomatic infection that would need treatment during the pregnancy.
- Gonorrhea & Chlamydia – Either of these infections are important to know about and require treatment during the pregnancy.
- Pap Smear – Checks for abnormal cervical cells. This is done on all women > 20 years of age who have not had one in the past year.
Additional testing performed throughout pregnancy:
- One hour glucose screen – Done between 24 – 28 weeks. This screens for diabetes that may develop during the pregnancy. You will drink a sugary beverage followed by a blood glucose level taken 1 hour later. If it is abnormal, additional testing is needed. If you have a history of diabetes in your prior pregnancies, please inform me so you can be tested immediately.
- Genetics screening (Please refer to the separate sheet on genetics)
- GBS screening (between 35 -36 weeks) – This is a vaginal culture that tests for the presence of a bacteria named group B streptococcus. If present, you will be treated with IV antibiotics during labor in an effort to prevent infecting the newborn during the birth process.