Our goal at OB/GYN Associates of Lancaster is to be your trusted health care partner, especially when it comes to your pregnancy! Making sure you are on track to having a successful pregnancy starts with regular prenatal visits to monitor the health of you and your baby.
How often you’ll need to come in for prenatal visits is dependent on how far along you are in your pregnancy and if you have any specific health conditions.
What is the schedule for prenatal visits?
You should come in for your first prenatal appointment as soon as you think you are pregnant. Prenatal checkups will happen more often as your pregnancy progresses, and we may advise special tests along the way.
In general, a normal prenatal visit schedule is tied to the gestational age of the baby:
- During weeks 4-28, expect to come in once a month.
- For weeks 28-36, the frequency will pick up, and we’ll see you in our offices twice a month.
- After week 36 you are in the home stretch! We recommend weekly visits at this point.
For women with a high-risk pregnancy or other conditions, you may be advised to come in more frequently throughout your pregnancy to make sure all is well.
What happens during a prenatal visit?
The first thing we’ll do when you come in for a prenatal visit is to check in to see how you are feeling and how your pregnancy is going. Our philosophy is that taking the time to understand you and your health is key to providing the best possible care.
During your visit, we’ll check fetal heart rate patterns to make sure that the baby’s heartbeat and heart rate are proceeding as expected. As you get closer to your due date, we’ll perform blood tests and screening tests to check for things like blood type, group b strep, RH factor, and other concerns.
The first time you come in we’ll also perform a pelvic exam and conduct some external monitoring to make sure everything is well from the start.
The checkup will include:
- Reviewing medical history.
- Getting a urine sample.
- Checking weight, height, and blood pressure.
- Asking about your lifestyle habits and stress level.
- Perform necessary blood tests.
- Measure and feel your abdomen.
- Perform a fetal ultrasound and fetal monitoring for heart rate.
- Make sure that you are feeling good overall and are excited to welcome home your new family member!
Along the line, we’ll keep an eye out for signs of trouble and work with you to prevent any unwanted complications. We’ll look for a range of potential health problems like birth defects, infection, fetal distress, or gestational diabetes.
What are some changes I can expect with my body during pregnancy?
There is no doubt about it – your body will experience significant changes during pregnancy. You’ll get bigger and go through hormonal changes as your baby develops. It’s normal to gain up to 35 pounds during pregnancy, with some moms gaining even more.
You’ll experience changes to your sex drive, both increase and decrease, and many expecting mothers notice changes to their breasts and body hair.
You’ll inevitably feel uncomfortable at some point during your pregnancy. Some of the more common issues include:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Aches and pains in your hips and lower back.
- Difficulty sleeping
Exercise and diet can play a role in alleviating these symptoms, and our doctors will recommend ways to help you feel better during what may be an uncomfortable time.
If you think you’re pregnant, please contact our office via phone, email, or schedule an appointment online. It’s important to start your prenatal care as soon as possible to make sure that your pregnancy goes smoothly and your baby is happy and healthy!