At your first visit your prenatal health care provider will talk with you about your medical history and ask how you’ve been feeling. They will also check your weight and blood pressure throughout your pregnancy.
During your pregnancy you may also have:
- Pelvic exam to check the size and shape of your uterus (womb)
- Pap test to make sure there are no abnormal cells on the cervix (opening of the uterus)
- Vaginal swabs to check for infections
Urine and blood tests may be done at the first visit and again at other visits.
Your health care provider will schedule your prenatal appointments. In general, you will see your health care provider:
- Once a month from the start of pregnancy until 28 weeks (1 to 7 months)
- Two times a month from 28 to 36 weeks (7 to 9 months)
- Once a week in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy
Your health care provider may see you on a different schedule depending on your pregnancy.
Common Topics to Discuss with Your Health Care Provider
There are a number of tests and screenings that your health care provider can do during your pregnancy. The tests help to identify any risks factors or concerns. Some are recommended for all pregnant women, while others depend on your health history or pregnancy.
The decision to have testing and take action on the results is a personal decision for each pregnant woman. Talking to your health care provider is an important part of the decision making process.
It is important to ask questions about every test being done. Before your visit, you may want to write down your questions.
Immunizations strengthen your immune system so that your body can fight off serious infectious diseases. Some immunizations are safe in pregnancy and others are not. Your health care provider will recommend which immunizations to receive during pregnancy. It may be best to receive some immunizations after the birth of your baby.
An infection is a normal part of life and is caused by bacteria or viruses that invade our body. However, infections in pregnancy may cause problems for the growth of your baby. Sometimes infections can cause preterm labour.
Regular prenatal care from your health care provider will help identify any signs and symptoms of infections. Early treatment may prevent or reduce complications from infections.
Infectious diseases can include:
It is best to avoid all medications during pregnancy. It is important to check with your health care provider before taking any medication during pregnancy, including over the counter medications or herbal supplements. Although not all medications are harmful in pregnancy, some medications can harm to your baby. Contact Motherisk to get more information about medication use during pregnancy.
It is recommended that all pregnant and breastfeeding women take a multivitamin with folic acid every day. If you are taking other nutritional supplements, talk to your health care provider or call Motherisk.