Prenatal care is key to the delivery of a healthy baby. Regular prenatal appointments can identify issues before they become serious problems for you or your unborn child. Seeing a doctor can also help alleviate some of your discomfort associated with pregnancy and help you understand the changes happening to your body and how your lifestyle affects those changes.
Note: The schedule below is for care during a typical pregnancy. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, or if other problems arise, you might be seen more regularly or have different tests completed. Click here for more information about high-risk pregnancies.
First prenatal visit
The earlier you start prenatal care, the better! Ideally, your first prenatal visit occurs when you are around eight weeks pregnant or four weeks after your missed period. If you are already past this point in your pregnancy, call our office at 704-384-0560 immediately so that we can start your prenatal care as soon as possible. During your first visit, a doctor or nurse will:
- Determine your height and weight (this is not to judge you) to ensure you gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy.
- Obtain a urine sample to identify any infections that could put your baby at risk and help the doctor determine ways to treat them.
- Obtain a blood sample (this will be done in our lab) to help determine your blood type, overall health or any underlying issues that could affect your baby.
- Do a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer if you have not had this test done recently.
- Test for certain sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), including syphilis. These tests are required by state law regardless of what medical office you visit. Again, these tests are not done to judge or criticize you, but to ensure you do not pass dangerous infections to your child.
- Obtain an ultrasound so the doctor can learn more about your baby's development and monitor its heartbeat.
Later prenatal visits
These visits will also include checks of your weight and monitoring of the baby's growth. Urine tests will be done at each appointment to check for infections. Blood will also be taken regularly to screen for problems. Ultrasounds will be done at some appointments to monitor the baby's growth.
Prenatal care schedule
During a typical pregnancy, you will see a doctor at the following times. If you are high risk or other concerns arise, your appointment schedule could be different.
- First two trimesters (until week 27): You will see the doctor once a month.
- Weeks 28–34: You will see the doctor once every two weeks.
- Weeks 35–40 (delivery): You will see the doctor once a week.