Why do I need pregnancy checkups?
There are a number of reasons why pregnant women need pregnancy checkups. The main reason for pregnancy checkups is for both you and your doctor to understand the progress of your baby while in the stomach. Regular ultrasounds let your doctor know that your baby is healthy and growing properly.
These checkups are also the perfect time to discuss any questions you may have with your doctor. If you’re having any issues, aches, pains, concerns or if you just have questions about caring for your new baby, your pregnancy checkups give you the opportunity to talk to your doctor or OB-GYN one-on-one.
Important Checkups during your Pregnancy
Your first visit to your doctor will be similar to a routine doctor visit. This appointment should occur as early as possible in your pregnancy – generally before the 12-week mark. Your practitioner will do a full physical exam, take some blood work and estimate your due date. Your doctor will also discuss a number of lifestyle questions with you about your overall health, good eating habits for you and your baby, your relationships and various lifestyle questions.
Between weeks 10 and 14 is when your doctor will perform what is known as the 12-week scan. This ultrasound will reveal whether or not you are having multiples, and in some cases you will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Weeks 19-20 are when your doctor can distinguish the gender of your baby. In some cases, gender can be identified as early as 13 weeks, but most commonly it will be noted in week 19 or 20.
The Office of Women’s Health recommends the following schedule for healthy women:
- Once each month for weeks four through 28
- Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
- Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
What type of test are performed during the checkup?
During the course of your pregnancy – especially in the first trimester – you will have to undertake a number of tests that are purposed to increase the safety of your pregnancy. Below are some the tests we perform during your pregnancy checkup:
Antenatal urine test
During this test, we ask our patients to give a fresh sample of their urine so that we check for proteins, albumin and other infections. If our results show that your urine contains the proteins or albumin, it is an indication that you might be having an infection such as Pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia if left untreated can lead to complications such as seizures and can also be life threatening. Studies have shown that Pre-eclampsia affects the health and development of the baby.
Commonly performed between 14-20 weeks into pregnancy, this test can diagnose Down syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifida. This test can also provide DNA for paternity testing.
Blood tests can check for sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and Syphilis. This is an important test because if found HIV positive, we advise you on how to take care of the baby without infecting it. This test will also check iron levels so as to check if you could be suffering from anemia and Blood group test so as to know the kind of blood you will need in case of heavy bleeding during your labor.
Weight and Height Checkups
We request our patients to undertake a weight and height checkup which is used to calculate for your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is important because you are likely to incur a number of complication during your labor if you are overweight.
At South Lake OB-GYN in Clermont, you and your baby are our number one priorities. We are here to help guide you through every step of your pregnancy to ensure a smooth transition from prenatal care to new mother. Contact South Lake OB-GYN today to schedule an appointment or to speak to one of our expert staff members about any questions you have.