Prenatal care schedule
Consistent prenatal care is important to both your health and the health of your unborn child. By consistently attending appointments, your baby's growth will be closely monitored, and you and your birth partner will have many chances to ask questions. While some high-risk pregnancies will require additional visits or tests, here is a typical prenatal care schedule for a routine pregnancy:
Initial OB visit
At your initial OB visit (around 8 weeks), a provider will get your medical history and perform a physical examination. This will include a Pap test unless you are already up-to-date. Prenatal lab tests (bloodwork) will also be drawn to screen for gonorrhea, chlamydia, blood type, Rh factor, antibody screening, HIV, syphilis, anemia, Rubella immunity and Hepatitis B.
Routine prenatal visits
You will have prenatal visits every four weeks until approximately 26 weeks. From then until 32 weeks, you will visit our office every three weeks. From 32-36 weeks, you will have appointments every two weeks. After 36 weeks, you will have a prenatal appointment each week until delivery. At each routine visit, you will:
- Be weighed.
- Have your blood pressure checked.
- Have your urine checked for protein and glucose.
- Be able to hear your baby's heartbeat using a dopper stethoscope (after 10-12 weeks).
- The size of your uterus (fundal height) will be measured with a tape measure.
Ultrasounds & screenings
We offer a number of routine tests to monitor your health and screen for potential problems with the health of your unborn child, including:
- First trimester screening. This tests for Down's syndrome and another chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 18. The results of a blood test are combined with the results of a special ultrasound often called a nuchal translucency (NT) scan to determine your baby's risks for these disorders.
- Glucose tolerance testing. This will be offered in your first trimester if you have certain risk factors for gestational diabetes, or between 24 and 28 weeks if you have no risk factors.
- AFP Tetra test. This optional test screens for Downs syndrome and neural tube defects. It is done around 16 weeks.
- Cystic fibrosis carrier testing, which can be done at any time.
- Abdominal ultrasound to evaluate fetal anatomy and growth. This is normally done between 18 and 20 weeks. We might be able to tell the sex of your baby at this ultrasound if you want to know. Please come to your ultrasound appointment with a full bladder.
- Hemoglobin recheck between 24 and 28 weeks. If you are Rh-negative, you will have an additional blood test to screen for abnormal antibodies.
- HIV and syphilis testing. This blood testing between 24 and 28 weeks is required by North Carolina law.
- Vaginal/rectal culture for Group B strep. This is done between 35 and 37 weeks. Gonorrhea and chlamydia testing might also be done at this time depending on individual risk factors.
- Cervix checks are normally done at 39 and 40 weeks to check for dilation.
If tests above return abnormal results, you may choose to have chorionic villous sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis tests to further screen for genetic abnormalities.
Concerns between visits
Pregnancy can be stressful, especially if you become concerned about your health or the health of your unborn child. Spotting, cramping or other pains are often completely normal, but can sometimes indicate bigger problems. If you have concerns between office visits, feel free to call our office at 336-765-5470 at any time.