Pregnant? Here’s How Often You’ll Likely See Your Doctor – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Pregnant? Here’s How Often You’ll Likely See Your Doctor – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

A massive to-do list builds following the appearance of two lines on a home pregnancy test. (Congrats, by the way!) There’s soooo much to do over the next nine months — but few things will be as important as prenatal care.

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Expect to become a regular at your healthcare provider’s office as you advance through pregnancy. These appointments begin just a few weeks after you become pregnant and continue right up until the big day.

For a healthy pregnancy, your doctor will probably want to see you on the following recommended schedule:

  • Weeks 4 to 28 — One prenatal visit every four weeks. 
  • Weeks 28 to 36 — One prenatal visit every two weeks. 
  • Weeks 36 to 40 — One prenatal visit every week.

Each scheduled visit on the timeline comes with a checklist of sorts to help you progress toward a healthy outcome for you and your baby. They provide opportunities for assessment, education and support.

Let’s break down a typical appointment schedule with ob/gyn Stacie Jhaveri, MD, so you get an idea of what to expect.

Weeks 4 to 28

How often you’ll visit: Once every four weeks

Expect your first visit to be a longer one as your healthcare provider gathers information to help guide your pregnancy. For starters, you’ll be asked detailed questions about your and your family’s health history.

This assessment lays the foundation for prenatal care visits throughout your pregnancy.

“We’re looking for health issues that could bring any sort of increased risk,” says Dr. Jhaveri. “If you’re on a medication, do you still need to be? If you have diabetes, is it under control? We talk about lifestyle, stress, diet, exercise. The list goes on and on.”

A thorough physical exam — including a pelvic exam — is also part of your initial visit. There’ll also be an evaluation (typically an ultrasound) to make sure your baby is growing well within your uterus.

You’ll also walk out of that first appointment with an exciting piece of information: A due date. (Or as many medical professionals call it, an EDC — estimated date of confinement.)

Regular tests at appointments

Visits will be shorter at the monthly check-ins that follow up to week 28. You can expect the following to take place at every appointment:

  • Blood pressure reading.
  • Weight check.
  • Urine test.
  • Measurement of your belly bump to monitor your baby’s growth.

“This is all part of your ongoing assessment,” says Dr. Jhaveri. “Every one of these tests gives information that can be used to make sure you and your rapidly growing baby are as healthy as possible.”

Magical moments start popping up in this stretch, too. Fetal Doppler devices typically start picking up your baby’s heartbeat around 10 weeks, and will become a regular soundtrack to your prenatal visits.  

Screenings on the early schedule

Common …….