Obstetrical Care: What to Expect 

Pregnancy can be quite scary, let’s be honest. If you’re doing this for the first time, or even if you have done it several times before, it’s natural to always have questions about your baby and your pregnancy. Maybe you’re just curious to know what’s happening in your belly or maybe you have some concerns about it. Well, your obstetrician is here to provide you with all the answers you might need and ensure your baby is healthy and strong. If you’re nervous about meeting your obstetrician, here are a few things you need to know: 

Timing your visits

Usually, your first visit to an obstetrician will be scheduled around eight weeks of pregnancy. If everything goes well, most experts recommend monthly visits up to about 32 weeks of your gestation period. After that, most doctors choose to see their patients every other week until 36 weeks of pregnancy. And finally, you can start seeing your doctor every week until it’s time to welcome your baby. The timing of your prenatal exams is crucial because it allows doctors to notice any potential complications before they occur or at least stop them before they become a bigger problem. In some cases, complications can happen quickly, so regular check-ups are necessary for your health and the health of your little one. 

Obstetrical Care: What to Expect 

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Your first appointment

It’s absolutely natural to be nervous about your first visit, but there’s no reason for any anxiety. Your first obstetrical care visit will most likely be the longest because you and your doctor have a lot to talk about. You will need to provide your medical history, your partner’s medical history, as well as your family anamnesis. Next, your doctor will give you a thorough check-up involving a physical exam, blood test and urine test. This ensures that you’re healthy and ready to welcome a baby without issues.

Most often, your physical exam includes the following: 

  • Taking your health, weight, blood pressure, heartbeat and breathing
  • A professional breast exam
  • A pelvic exam
  • A Pap smear 
  • STD test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV
  • Diabetes tests, anemia screening, hepatitis B and rubella tests

You and your doctor might also discuss your dietary and lifestyle habits and review some prenatal vitamins. As you probably know, the most important vitamin for pregnant women is folic acid, and you might want to consider taking it even before your pregnancy. In case you need to make any changes to your lifestyle, your doctor will use this chance to recommend them. 

Certain medications shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy and can be dangerous to your baby. This is the best time to be 100% honest with your habits and medical history, and try to remember every medication and supplement you’re taking, so your doctor can approve them. 

Your follow-up appointments

Your first appointment will definitely not be your last. As your pregnancy progresses, you will need to see your chosen obstetrical care specialist on a regular basis to make sure your pregnancy is going well. During your follow-up appointments (usually once every month), your doctor will: 

  • Ask you about any changes in your medical history
  • Check your urine
  • Measure your blood pressure and weight
  • Check for any swellings
  • Feel your stomach to check the fetus’ position in your belly
  • Listen to the heartbeat of the fetus
  • Recommend any genetic testing

If you have any concerns or questions to ask your doctor about pregnancy or your health, this is a great time to ask them and update your knowledge or calm any anxiety. Most doctors are happy to answer any questions, no matter how “stupid” you think they are (and they are 100% not stupid). 

Obstetrical Care: What to Expect 

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash

Final stages of pregnancy

As your pregnancy nears its end, it’s necessary to make your obstetrical visits more frequent. These final visits will focus on things like gestational diabetes to make sure your glucose tolerance is okay (glucose intolerance can cause risks for the baby and the mom). Your doctor will also watch your blood pressure, monitoring for high blood pressure. Preeclampsia is also a serious condition your doctor will keep an eye on, because it can be a sign of damage to an organ). If you start suffering from issues like constipation, heartburn or back pain, your doctor will also recommend strategies to increase your comfort until the baby comes. 

Obstetrical care exams are crucial for the health of both mom and baby, so make sure to book yours and make every appointment according to the schedule. Once your baby is born healthy and strong, you’ll be happy you did everything in your power to give it such an advantage in life. 

About the Guest author

Journalist graduate, travel aficionado, and someone with endless curiosity. Lives in San Francisco, and enjoys reading, cooking, and comedy songs.

“Run from what’s comfortable. Be notorious”

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