What Happens During Your Prenatal Care?

We have talked previously about what you can expect to happen at your initial prenatal visit with our practice, and today, we’re going to talk a little bit about the typical course of the rest of your prenatal care.

First, we want to give you an idea of our typical office rotation schedule: Gina is in the office on Mondays, Nedra on Tuesdays, and both of us on Thursdays. We also leave space for consults on Wednesdays afternoons/evenings. This gives us plenty of space to schedule your visits in such a way that you can see both of us an equal amount of time during your care.

Your visits occur on a typical, standard of care schedule:

Early Pregnancy

For the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy, you will come in and see us every four weeks. As we previously mentioned, your first visit, which usually occurs between 8-12 weeks, will be the visit during which we normally collect all of your initial labs. You may also choose to have us order a first trimester ultrasound around this time, or chromosome and genetic screening. We discuss all of these options early on so that you have time to make the decisions that are right for you and your baby.

Each of your visits will have a similar structure: We will begin by visiting with you in our sitting room and going over how you have been doing since we saw you last, your questions or concerns, and any clinical questions that are pertinent to that point in your pregnancy.

After this, we will move into our exam room, where we will assess your blood pressure, pulse, weight, and temperature, evaluate you for swelling, and take a look at anything else that you have concerns about at that visit. After this, we will measure the size of your uterus (called fundal height) for reassurance that baby is growing well, and then we will listen to the baby’s heartbeat with a doppler. Sometimes, we have a client who prefers that we listen with a fetoscope instead of a doppler, in which case we can typically only hear heart tones after approximately 20 weeks.

At your 16 week visit, we will discuss ordering a 20 week ultrasound, or anatomy scan. You’ll receive a handout that goes over all of your options, and after you have decided which choices are right for you, we can order your ultrasound for you from one of a number of providers in the Denver area.

Later Pregnancy

At 28 weeks is when things start to move more quickly. It may seem like the birth is still so far away, but this time goes by pretty fast! At this visit, you will encounter your next set of labwork: we’ll do a repeat CBC, another urine test, and your gestational glucose screen (for which we offer several different options to make it palatable for almost everyone.)

After you see us for this appointment, you will start coming in every two weeks. The basic structure of our visits will remain the same, but now we will be able to start assessing your baby’s position by palpation, and talk a lot more about and even observe movement (this is a fun period!).

At around 36 weeks, we will schedule one of your prenatal visits at your home. We will write a future post to go more in-depth into what happens at this visit, but in a nutshell, we cover all of the usual things that happen in a prenatal visit, but we also talk about plans and set up for the upcoming birth. At this visit or your next one, we will collect what is usually the last of your labs: another CBC, and a Group B Strep swab.

The Last Month

After your 36 week visit, you’ll be seeing us every week back at the office – this means we’re almost there!

Each week during the last weeks of pregnancy, we are just patiently watching and waiting for signs that your baby is ready to be born, while making sure that you and baby are staying healthy and safe. Remember, most babies are born after their due dates, so these weeks can seem a little long – but your baby will be here before you know it!