Ensure you’re giving your baby the best possible start by maintaining the recommended schedule of prenatal visits during your pregnancy. While it may be challenging to fit ongoing office appointments into your busy schedule, prenatal visits are the best way to protect your health and the health of your baby.
In addition to providing support for physical changes, prenatal visits are also a good opportunity to address your questions and concerns about your body, your baby’s development, and the upcoming birth.
Your prenatal provider is an important resource for treatment, education, and support throughout your pregnancy. Our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care have the expertise necessary to care for you and your unborn baby whether you have a normal or high-risk pregnancy.
Our team of pregnancy specialists provides comprehensive pregnancy services, from routine examinations to diagnostic testing, through all stages of pregnancy.
Contact our office to arrange your first prenatal visit as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed. While most women start their prenatal visits at about eight weeks of pregnancy, we may recommend that you begin your visits earlier if your pregnancy is considered high-risk due to:
Your first appointment is typically longer than other prenatal visits. It includes a comprehensive physical exam, pelvic exam, and medical history. You may also have a Pap smear and other tests such as a blood test, STD test, and urine test.
At this early stage of pregnancy, we give you lifestyle guidelines, such as maintaining proper nutrition, exercising daily, and taking prenatal vitamins to support your health and the healthy development of your baby.
If your pregnancy is free of complications and your overall health is normal, you’re likely to have about 15 prenatal visits during your pregnancy. Your visits are scheduled closer together as your pregnancy progresses.
Most women have a schedule of prenatal visits that follows this timing:
This schedule is only a guide. We may require more appointments with less time between visits if you have preexisting medical conditions or other issues associated with a high risk of complications.
After your first appointment, your prenatal visits include a physical exam and tests specific to your medical condition and stage of pregnancy. As you progress through your pregnancy, your visits may change to monitor specific medical conditions or physical changes affecting you or your baby.
A typical prenatal visit includes:
Even if you’re feeling well and your pregnancy is free of complications, regular prenatal visits can make a difference in supporting a smooth birth and healthy baby.
If you go through pregnancy without appropriate prenatal care, your baby has a risk of low birth weight that’s three times higher than babies born to mothers who received prenatal care. Without prenatal care, your baby is also five times more likely to die than a baby whose mother was routinely monitored during pregnancy.
Premature birth — before the 37th week of pregnancy — and fetal growth restriction, which prevents a baby from gaining adequate weight in the womb, are the two most common causes of low birth weight.
At recommended prenatal visits, we monitor your baby’s growth to identify the risk of low birth weight and reduce the possibility of these complications.
Prenatal visits also allow us the opportunity to observe your body for signs of conditions like gestational diabetes, anemia, or high blood pressure, all of which could damage your health and the health of your baby.
Give your baby the best possible start. Contact our Chicago or Northbrook, Illinois, office today to schedule an appointment.