In the beginning of your pregnancy we will see you about every 4 weeks. As you get closer to your due date the visits will become more frequent. At every visit we will listen to the baby’s heartbeat and check the baby’s growth; check your blood pressure, weight, and urine; and review any test results that may have been done the previous visit. We encourage you to come in with a list of questions so that we can discuss your concerns.
Your “due date” is defined as 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period. If your last menstrual period is uncertain, then your “due date” will be determined by your first ultrasound. Most babies are born between 37 and 42 weeks. Your prenatal visits are scheduled according to your due date. An uncomplicated pregnancy will be scheduled for the following visits:
- Initial visit: Exam, Confirm pregnancy, PAP smear, labwork, discuss genetic screening
- 12 week visit: Labs reviewed, first trimester genetic screening if requested
- 16 week visit: Second trimester genetic screening or AFP if requested
- 20 week visit: Ultrasound (no provider visit)
- 22 week visit: Review ultrasound and genetic screening results
- 25 week visit: Routine evaluation, preterm labor review, prenatal classes
- 28 week visit: Diabetes blood test, lab work, rhogam if needed
- 30 week visit: Review diabetes blood test
- 32 week visit: Routine evaluation
- 34 week visit: Routine evaluation, hospital registration
- 36 week visit: Group B streptococcus test
- 37 - 42 week: Weekly visit with routine evaluation until delivery
Prenatal classes are available through Piedmont Fayette Hospital or The Better Birth Foundation. More information on these classes is available upon request. We strongly recommend a prenatal class to prepare you and your partner for labor and delivery. Sibling and breastfeeding classes are also available and can be very helpful. We recommend that you schedule early for these classes as they tend to full up quickly.
Common Lab Tests
During your pregnancy, diagnostic studies (lab work, cultures, pap smears) will be performed or offered. If you have an appointment within two weeks of the test, we will inform you of the results at the time of your next visit. If you do not have an appointment within the next two weeks, we will notify you of the results by phone or mail. It is very important that we have your current phone number(s) and address. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of a test, call us. No news is NOT good news. No news is NO NEWS.
Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, and Trisomy 18 are both genetic syndromes that cause severe mental retardation and major birth defects. There are screening tests available that help predict the risk of your baby having these disorders. These tests can either be done in the first trimester, between 10 and 13 weeks gestation, or in the second trimester, between 15 and 22 weeks gestation.
For both of these tests it is important to understand that the results do NOT tell you that your baby definitely does or does not have a problem. They only tell you whether the risk is high enough that you should consider having other tests.
If your testing comes back with an increased risk for any of the associated disorders, we will send you to a perinatologist for further evaluation and counseling. At that appointment they will perform a more in depth ultrasound looking for any associated problems. They will also discuss your options including having an amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling (CVS) done. These tests will give you definite results. If you are 35 years of age or older, we will offer CVS or amniocentesis without the screening tests because your age alone puts you at a high enough risk.
Please see our handout on Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18 screening for more in depth information.
We provide obstetric ultrasounds in our office. At approximately 18 weeks gestation an ultrasound will be performed to measure fetal growth and organ development. No other ultrasounds will be performed in an uncomplicated pregnancy so that we can decrease your exposure to unnecessary energy sources. Ultrasounds are not performed for identifying a baby’s sex.
Pregnancy can affect the way your body handles the food you eat, and this can result in gestational diabetes. We routinely screen all of our patients for gestational diabetes at around 28 weeks gestation.
The test results normally come back to us in a week or less. If your results fall out of the normal range, we will call you to schedule additional testing. If the results are normal we will wait until your next appointment to give you the results.
Group B Streptococcus or GBS is a normal intestinal bacteria. Up to 40% of pregnant woman have GBS, but it is not a sexually transmitted infection and does not pose a danger to a women’s health. You will be tested in the office for GBS with a sample taken from the vagina between 35-37 weeks gestation. A pregnant woman can pass this bacteria to her baby during delivery. Most babies do not have problems however, a few babies may become ill, therefore, if the culture is positive, you will need to receive antibiotics during labor. If the culture is negative, no further treatment is necessary.