It is very important to get prenatal checkups during pregnancy. Prenatal care helps you get a healthy pregnancy and baby.
What is the prenatal care schedule ?
If you have a healthy pregnancy, this may be your prenatal checkup schedule.
|Stage of pregnancy||Prenatal checkups|
|weeks 4 - 28||every four weeks ( one a month )|
|weeks 28 - 36||every 2 weeks ( twice a month )|
|weeks 36 - birth||every week|
You may have more prenatal checkups if you have a health problem. You may have more prenatal checkups if you fall into the following category :
- age 35 or older
- risk for preterm labor
- pregnancy complications
- preexisting medical problems
It is essential to go for all your appointments even if you feel fine.
What happens at prenatal checkups ?
The first prenatal checkup is usually the longest. This is because the health care provider asks you lots of questions such as personal and family medical history and does several tests. Later prenatal checkups may be shorter.
At later prenatal checkups your health care provider will do the following :
- take your weight
- complete a physical examination including a pelvic exam and pap smear
- collect urine for lab
- take your blood pressure
- measure your belly to see how your baby is growing ( this is usually done in the second and third trimester)
- listen to the baby’s heart beat ( after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy )
- feel the belly to find out the position of the baby (later pregnancy)
- talk to you about any concerns and questions you may have
It is very important to give your health care provider an accurate medical history. It can be difficult to share information such as sexually transmitted infections and drug use. However you should know the information you give helps your health care provider give you and your baby the best care.
You should also know that all health information are private and confidential and is known by only the health team.
Later prenatal checkups . March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/later-prenatal-checkups.aspx. Accessed May 20, 2015
How often do I need prenatal visits. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/how-often-do-i-need-prenatal-visits Accessed May 20 , 2015
Prenatal care facts sheet. Women’s Health.gov. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html. Accessed May 20, 2015