For many people who are newly pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, prenatal care is an important consideration. If you still have questions about prenatal care, you are not alone. There are plenty of things you should know before your first appointment.
The answers to these questions will help you make informed choices about prenatal care.
Why Do You Need Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is a critical component in caring for your baby. These appointments help track the progress of your baby's development and may even help doctors make predictions. Tests can also spot potential dangers and concerns for yourself or the baby's growth.
When Should You Make Your First Appointment?
You should make your first appointment with a doctor as soon as you are aware of your pregnancy. It is ideal to see a doctor before you become pregnant so that you can work with a doctor to take steps toward a healthy pregnancy.
Your first appointment is a checkup that looks at your blood and urine. You may undergo a breast and pelvic exam as well as screening for health conditions. Your doctor might make lifestyle and diet recommendations.
How Often Do You Need Prenatal Care?
You will need to see a doctor more often as your pregnancy progresses. In the first months of pregnancy, you will need prenatal care checkups once a month. As pregnancy progresses, your doctor will want you to come in every two weeks and eventually once a week.
These appointments may include taking more information about your medical history, checking your weight, looking for signs of swelling, and feeling for your baby's position. The doctor will listen to the baby's heartbeat, measure the baby's size, and provide genetic testing. You can also bring up any concerns you have about side effects like nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and constipation.
What Testing Is Available Before the Baby Is Born?
A variety of testing methods can provide more information about your baby. For example, the doctor can provide information with the help of ultrasounds, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling. You can ask about these tests and how they may impact your health or the future of your baby.
See a Prenatal Care Provider Today
One of the best things you can do is seek prenatal care early on in your pregnancy. The earlier you see a doctor, the earlier you may be able to spot a problem. Make your appointment today if you have additional questions.