A healthy pregnancy is dependent on receiving consistent medical care to monitor you and your baby through the drastic changes. While the majority of pregnancies are routine, there are problems that can arise. Many of these can be alleviated with proper medical care. Your doctor will know what complications to look out for based on your medical history, will be armed with knowledge of the latest research in prenatal care, and will be available to answer questions and respond to concerns in order to keep you at ease.

The first appointment is usually at the eight to ten week mark, scheduled as soon as a missed period and home pregnancy test indicate a woman is pregnant. If you are at a higher risk or have had complications in the past, your doctor may want to see you sooner. During this initial visit, the doctor will conduct a routine gynecological exam with pelvic exam, pap smear, and breast exam. Additionally, a medical pregnancy test will be administered along with blood and urine tests to make sure that everything is normal.

About a month later, another routine checkup will be scheduled. Your weight, blood pressure, and urine will be checked for abnormalities. You will be excited to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. About every month from here, you will visit your doctor for these same routine tests.  At about the 20 week mark, your doctor will schedule an ultrasound. Medically, the doctor wants to make sure that your baby is developing and positioned properly. Mothers get excited because this is your chance to see your baby for the first time, get an estimation of your baby’s size, and the technician can often tell the gender of your baby during the ultrasound. If you want to know the gender before the baby is born, this could be your opportunity. Technology and expertise usually allows the technician to get the baby and equipment positioned properly, but it is possible that he or she will not be able to tell.

At your eighth visit, you are ending your second trimester and your baby’s growth rate is increasing, so your doctor will begin monitoring even more closely. In addition to the routine tests that have been run at all of the previous appointments, others will be ordered. One in particular is the glucose tolerance test to screen you for gestational diabetes, which about four percent of women suffer from.

Around your thirtieth week of pregnancy, your visits will increase in frequency from monthly to biweekly. Your blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight as well as the heartbeat, size, movement, and position of your baby will all be examined for normal functioning.

By the time you reach week forty, it is just a waiting game. Your doctor will monitor dilation of your cervix and contraction activity. False alarms are common during this time. Your doctor will be able to sort through them, keep your mind stress-free, and keep your body and your baby healthy. When it is time for delivery, your doctor will be there to make sure that nothing happens to interfere with the joy of the experience.

Your final pregnancy-related doctor visit will take place about six weeks after delivery. The doctor will check that your body is recovering properly and that you are adjusting to your new life. There are a lot of physical and hormonal changes in those six weeks and beyond. Proper medical care is still just as important.

Proper medical care is extremely important during pregnancy. As with any situation, we want to turn to the experts and be able to rely on their wisdom. While it is something that many women go through, there is the chance of complications. Adequate monitoring by your doctor can help prevent some of these complications and safely guide you through the unavoidable ones. Make your pregnancy, delivery, and start of motherhood as wonderful as you imagine it can be.