Health checkups begin as soon as you conceive. This is to ensure you and your baby are doing fine. Prenatal checkups are important to keep a track of fetal health and development. You may be visiting your obstetrician on a monthly basis for regular checkups. These screening tests will continue in your second trimester also.
In case you have an underlying medical condition or if your pregnancy is classified as high-risk, then you may be required to visit your doctor more often for regular monitoring. You must also inform your doctor if you are concerned about something or notice any changes that bother you for evaluation.
The first thing the health care practitioners do, when you visit is to check your weight and blood pressure. Few more physical assessments follow.
With the help of Doppler device, your doctor can listen to fetal heartbeat. It is usually at a higher rate than that of adults.
This is done by measuring your growing belly in centimetres. It is important to know that the baby is growing as expected according to the gestational period.
You may have already observed fetal movements before and now the kicks become more noticeable. Tell your doctor about the movements you observe.
This is one assessment, you will probably look forward to and is the only interesting prenatal checkup. With a scan, you will be able to see the images of how the baby is doing inside the womb. It is helpful in keeping track of fetal development and its position. Ultrasound also helps in calculating the estimated date of delivery. You may also know the baby’s gender if you wish to.
Genetic blood test
This is an important test which helps in the determination of genetic anomalies such as Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal defects. If the results show any abnormalities, the doctor will recommend other advanced tests to get accurate results. This however, is a rare occurrence and often the test outcome is normal.
Glucose tolerance test
This is going to test your patience and aversion for sugar. You get the idea that this is not a fun test, but is important in assessing gestational diabetes which may arise because of hormonal changes. It is possible to control sugar levels of expecting women through diet in most cases, but some may need insulin shots. Sometimes gestational diabetes lasts only till the completion of pregnancy and goes away after delivery.
You will be needing yet another blood test to find out your complete blood profile. This determines your blood, iron levels and Rh type. If you have Rh negative blood and your baby happens to be Rh positive, the antibodies in your blood can start attacking the red blood cells of your baby. In this case, you will be prescribed Rh immune globulin injection.
Going through all these screenings can be tiresome, but they are highly recommended to ensure that your pregnancy progresses smoothly.