Prenatal care is a vital part of a healthy pregnancy. Making your first prenatal appointment as soon as you know that you are pregnant is important to ensure a healthy pregnancy as well as handle any problems that may occur during pregnancy.
Who is prenatal care for?
Prenatal care is for both the mother and the baby. With prenatal care, you will learn about fetal development, the way your body is changing to accommodate that fetus and what you need to do to stay as healthy as possible. In general, most people have their first doctor’s visit between 6-10 weeks from their last period, although patients may need to be seen earlier in special situations.
Prenatal Care: First Trimester
Prenatal care during the first trimester (first twelve weeks of pregnancy) includes determining the baby’s due date as well as blood tests, a physical exam, a urine sample, discussing genetic testing, learning what to expect during your pregnancy and how to best take care of yourself. During the initial prenatal exam, your obstetrician will review your medical history.
Prenatal Care: Second Trimester
Prenatal care during the second trimester, weeks 13 through 26 of pregnancy, may include additional lab tests, tracking your baby’s growth, checking your weight gain, fetal movement, and any necessary diagnostic tests. Your prenatal care may also include a fetal ultrasound to examine the anatomy of the baby.
Prenatal Care: Third Trimester
Prenatal care during the third trimester, weeks 27 to birth, includes continued monitoring of your weight and blood pressure and your baby’s heartbeat and movements. During the last month of pregnancy expect to have weekly check-ups. Prenatal care can include vaginal exams to check the cervix and the baby’s position.