Prenatal Care Through The Trimesters

Prenatal care is very important and can potentially have long-term effects on your baby's health. There are many things your prenatal care doctor will recommend during pregnancy, but also things your doctor will warn you to stay away from to ensure the healthiest possible baby.

What Is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is the care you receive while you are pregnant. Prenatal is very important to the health of your baby because what you do while you're pregnant directly affects them. Prenatal care includes doctor's appointments and check-ups. It's important to always follow the schedule for your appointments as your prenatal care doctor can catch some health issues early on. 

Trimester One Prenatal Care

Once you find out you are pregnant, you will need to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

The very first visit will include:

  • Blood draw
  • Urine sample
  • Pap smear
  • Pelvic exam
  • Listening for baby's heartbeat

Keep in mind, the baby may not have a heartbeat at the time of the first appointment if you get in to see your doctor early. 

During the first trimester, you will be scheduled for a doctor's visit every month to check on the health of you and the baby. If complications arise with the pregnancy, it is possible you will have to visit your doctor more often. 

The first trimester is also when you should be able to find out the sex of your baby via ultrasound if that's what's wanted. Genetic testing is also available to check for conditions like down syndrome or birth defects. 

Trimester Two Prenatal Care

In the second trimester, you will continue to have monthly doctor's visits to monitor the health of you and your baby. During these visits, your doctor will make sure you're keeping a healthy weight and your belly is growing at a normal rate. 

Never be afraid to express concerns to your doctor, as these visits are for you too. You may experience things that you think are normal, but they could also have an underlying reason as to why you're experiencing them. This is important for your doctor to know. 

You will also have an ultrasound in the second trimester to make sure your baby is growing and healthy. If you were unable to tell the sex of the baby in the first trimester, you may also do this now. 

Trimester Three Prenatal Care

During the third trimester, your doctor visits will increase to once every two weeks. Once you enter your last month of pregnancy, you will need to see your doctor once a week. Your doctor will continue to do the same things during these visits as in the second trimester. They will also conduct a pelvic exam to check for dilation. 

There are certain vaccinations that may be given during the third trimester to protect your baby from things like whooping cough. 

It's important to monitor your baby's movements during the third trimester. If you're not feeling any movement from your baby, tell your doctor. If you follow all your doctor's recommendations during all three trimesters, your chances of having a healthy baby are substantially higher.