8 to 10 weeks: This is your initial prenatal visit. An ultrasound for dates and heartbeat, a health history is taken, and a physical exam, including a pelvic exam, is performed. Lab work is completed, including your blood type and hemoglobin, sexually transmitted infection screening, a urine test, and a PAP test if you are due for one.
First two trimesters: Prenatal visits continue every four to six weeks through the first two trimesters, or until you are 28 weeks along. At each appointment, your healthcare practitionerwill weigh you and take your blood pressure, listen to the baby’s heartbeat, and measure the growth of your uterus and baby. He or shewill check your urine for protein and sugar at each visit.
15 to 20 weeks: At one of your appointments within this period, you will be offered the Quad Screen test, which screens for genetic and spinal cord abnormalities. You will be scheduled for an ultrasound between at 20 weeks to view the baby’s organs and measure the growth of the baby and the placenta.
28 weeks: At an appointment within this period, you will be encouraged to take a glucose challenge test to screen for gestational diabetes. Your hemoglobin may be rechecked. Some providers do a pelvic exam. Expect to review warning signs of late pregnancy that would alert you to preterm labor or high blood pressure. You may be encouraged to sign up for prenatal classes and find a doctor or nursepractitioner who will provide well-child care for your baby.
28 to 36 weeks: After 28 weeks, prenatal visits continue every twoweeks until 36 weeks. Your healthcare practitionerwill continue to record the growth of the baby, listen to the baby’s heartbeat, and check the baby’s position.
36 weeks: At this visit, your doctor will do a pelvic exam and encourage you to have a Group B Strep test. Screening tests for sexually transmitted infections may be repeated at this visit. The position and size of the baby are estimated. If your baby is not head down, your healthcare practitionermay suggest exercises to encourage the baby to turn, or suggest a physical manipulation called external version. The risks and benefits of this procedure should be carefully explained.
36 to 40 weeks: Your healthcare provider monitorsyour weight and blood pressure as well as the baby’s size, position, and heart rate. Your healthcare provider may offer to check your cervix for dilation.
40+ weeks: After your due date, your healthcare provider may offer what is called post-dates testing, including nonstress tests, ultrasound, and biophysical profiles. Some providers start at 40 weeks; others not until ten days past your due date.