Most people don’t know what to expect when it comes to prenatal visits. I’ll try to break down the most important aspects so you know what's coming.
CNM Certified Nurse Midwife
Throughout pregnancy and postpartum women experience around 14-18 office visits. This number can vary based on when you deliver or if your pregnancy is at higher risk. We initially see you every month until 28 weeks, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, then weekly until you deliver. We also like to see you a minimum of 2 times postpartum at 2 and 6 weeks. This may seem like a lot of visits but a lot is happening during pregnancy and we like to be there to support you through it all.
At every visit, you can expect us to check in on how both you and your baby are doing. We listen to your baby’s heartbeat, check how your growth is measuring, and prepare you for what symptoms to expect. These visits are also a great way to build a relationship with your birth team!
One of your first appointments will be a dating ultrasound to measure the baby and better verify your due date. Over the following visits, we will get a health history, draw prenatal labs, obtain a pap smear if you’re due for one, and provide lots of education on recommendations for pregnancy. We also offer genetic screening which you can learn more about in Dr. Oler’s blog post, here.
Around 20 wks you will have your Anatomy Ultrasound, which is typically when you find out the sex of your baby. The reason we do this scan is to look at all of your baby’s body parts to make sure everything is growing well.
Around 28 weeks we perform the glucose challenge test, to screen for gestational diabetes. This consists of drinking a super sugary drink and then getting your blood drawn. At the same time, we do a couple of other labs looking at your blood levels to check for anemia. If your blood type is negative, we give a Rhogam shot to protect your baby. We also recommend getting the Tdap vaccine so that your baby is protected for the first part of their life. This protects them from whooping cough before they can receive the immunization themselves. You can learn more about this in Dr. Oler’s blog post about vaccinations in pregnancy. Lastly, we give you a birth plan template to declare your desires for your hospital stay; labor, delivery, and postpartum. We then review this plan with you, answering any questions you may have.
Around 36 weeks we collect a swab for Group Beta Strep or better known as GBS. This is a naturally occurring bacteria in the body, but it can be harmful to your baby if present during delivery.
By now you will see us weekly until you deliver. We will continue to talk about the upcoming labor/delivery and managing any third-trimester discomforts you are experiencing. For some great tips about the end of pregnancy and helping yourself go into labor, refer to Dr. Powell's blog post titled “Will this pregnancy ever end?”.
After your delivery, we like to see you at least twice, at 2 and 6 weeks. During these visits, we discuss how you’re healing, how feeding your baby is going, check in on your mental health and discuss possible contraceptive options. If you are breastfeeding for the first time or having complications in any pregnancy, please schedule an appointment in our new lactation clinic.
As stated above, the amount and timing of all these visits can vary depending on many factors. I hope you have found this basic outline of what to expect for your visits throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period helpful.