An Overview of your Pregnancy Appointments
At your first visit, your Terra physician will go through a comprehensive review of your health history and you and your partner's family history. This helps identify any issues that may have an impact on your pregnancy. You will also talk about key topics like genetic screening options, important blood tests, and ultrasounds to help ensure that you and your baby will be as healthy as possible. It is during this first visit that you can gauge whether your physician is the right fit for you and vice versa. There is often a lot of information during this visit. Some physicians may break it up into several visits to avoid overwhelming you with information. Bringing your partner or a relative as a second set of ears is usually helpful.
First Prenatal Check-up
The first prenatal physical exam is important. We perform a complete check-up including a PAP smear, if it is due. This will help us get to know you and indentify early on if there are health issues that need further work-up, management, or referral for specialized tests or care.
An early ultrasound, scheduled between 8-12 weeks of your pregnancy, is often arranged to confirm the accuracy of your estimated due date. It also helps ensure there are no surprises - good or bad - like twins or ectopic pregnancies, where the fetus is growing outside the uterus.
A second ultrasound, often between 18-20 weeks of your pregnancy, is also scheduled. This is called a 'detailed scan' where the radiologist makes sure that your baby is growing and developing well. Parents who want to know if they are having a boy or girl will be able to find out at this ultrasound.
Extra ultrasounds are sometimes arranged at various points in the pregnancy, depending on the circumstances.
Standard lab work is usually arranged during the first few visits of your pregnancy. These tests usually include a baseline blood count, thyroid hormone levels, and a comprehensive screen for infections. We also check if you are immune to rubella or German measles. Your blood type is determined. Other blood tests are included if your physician thinks they are necessary.
If you are interested in genetic screening, your care provider will help you navigate the different tests that are available.
A screen for diabetes is done between 24 to 28 weeks of your pregnancy. A swab for Group B strep (GBS) is taken between 35-37 weeks of your pregnancy. GBS can cause severe infections in your newborn and your physician will discuss appropriate steps to minimize this risk.
Prenatal check-ups are done at regular intervals.
Check-ups are usually every 4 weeks until you reach your 30th week of pregnancy. We will see you every 2 weeks from the 30th to the 36th week of your pregnancy. We then see you weekly from the 36th week of pregnancy until you deliver.
We can usually hear your baby's heartbeat in the clinic once you are 12 weeks into your pregnancy. First time moms can start feeling their baby kick at around 20 weeks; this happens as early as 16 weeks for subsequent pregnancies.
At each of these check-ups, we make sure your baby is growing well. We can also address any concerns that come up and discuss important topics with you as they become relevant.