To ensure a smooth pregnancy, several consultations with your doctors should be planned. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect during these visits:
First trimester of pregnancy: the first prenatal consultation
The first prenatal consultation takes place when you’re eight to ten weeks pregnant. It’s probably the longest of all the visits and an opportunity to ask all the questions that come to mind.
During this consultation, you will get a general check-up including a pelvic exam to check the size of your uterus, a breast exam, a Pap smear and blood pressure readings. You’ll also undergo some blood and urine tests to check for various conditions that can result from being pregnant and are usually temporary.
Monitoring pregnancy: the following consultations
After the initial visit, you should see your doctor on a regular basis every month, starting with the fourth month of pregnancy, until the date of delivery. Your doctor will be able to monitor the development of your baby while checking up on your overall health. Common examinations include: taking your measurements to ensure the baby is growing well, monitoring signs of conditions resulting from pregnancy, as well as other urine and blood tests according to your medical history.
As you approach your due date, your doctor will give you tips on how to know when you are in labor, how to differentiate between labor and non-labor contractions, how to tell the difference between vaginal discharge and water breaking, when to head to the hospital, and how to preserve your well-being, and that of your baby during this last phase.
Ultrasounds: three pregnancy milestones
- A dating ultrasound between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy enables your doctor to find out when your baby was conceived. It also helps the doctor to check your baby’s heartbeat and to ensure there are no chromosomal abnormalities.
- A morphological ultrasound, usually done by the fifth month of pregnancy, ensures that the baby is developing normally. It also helps determine whether the baby is a boy or a girl. It is your decision as to whether you want to know the sex of your baby or not. If you don’t, simply tell your doctor, who will keep the secret until delivery.
- An ultrasound called "fetal wellbeing", takes place around 31 to 33 weeks of pregnancy. It allows the doctor to evaluate the position of the baby and determine the best method of delivery.