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Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. Take care of yourself and your baby by:

  • Get early prenatal care. If you know you're pregnant, or think you might be, call your doctor to schedule a visit.
  • Get regular prenatal care. Your doctor will schedule you for many checkups over the course of your pregnancy. Don't miss any — they are all important.
  • Follow your doctor's advice.

Your OBGYN will give you a schedule of all the doctor visits you should have while pregnant. Most experts suggest you see your doctor:

  • About once each month for weeks 4 through 28
  • Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
  • Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
  • If you are older than 35 or your pregnancy is high risk, you'll probably see your OBGYN more often.

During the first prenatal visit, you can expect your OBGYN to:

  • Ask about your health history including diseases, operations, or prior pregnancies
  • Ask about your family's health history
  • Do a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam and Pap test
  • Take your blood and urine for lab work
  • Check your blood pressure, height, and weight
  • Calculate your due date
  • Answer your questions

At the first visit, you should ask questions and discuss any issues related to your pregnancy. Find out all you can about how to stay healthy.

Later prenatal visits will probably be shorter. Your doctor will check on your health and make sure the baby is growing as expected.  Most prenatal visits will include:

  • Checking your blood pressure
  • Measuring your weight gain
  • Measuring your abdomen to check your baby’s growth (once you begin to show)
  • Checking the baby's heart rate

While you're pregnant, you also will have some routine tests. Some tests are suggested for all women, such as blood work to check for anemia, your blood type, HIV, and other factors. Other tests might be offered based on your age, personal or family health history, your ethnic background, or the results of routine tests you have had. 

 

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