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Did you just pee on a stick and it turned out positive????
Well, let me be the first to say CONGRATS MAMA!!!! Pregnancy and mom life are the best! I’m so happy for you!
But, truth be told, you’re entering a whirlwind of new information and questions and experiences.
Let me help you through one major part of all this.
You know you’re pregnant. Now when do you see the doctor? And how often do you have to see the doctor after that? And what are they going to do to me during those checkups???
Appointment 1: 8-10 weeks
The first time you’ll visit the doctor is around 8-10 weeks pregnant.
How do you find out how long you’ve been pregnant?
It can be tricky, but the best way is to guess based on the first day of your last menstrual period. Just add 8 weeks to that day (or your best guess of when that day was) and viola! Your appointment should be sometime around then.
You might have some paperwork to do during this appointment- you know, stuff like your medical history, the medical history of your family, and insurance stuff.
You’ll probably pee in a cup. Get used to this- you pee in cups a lot during pregnancy. The doctor will get your urine tested to look for common problems like infections, diabetes (although gestational diabetes doesn’t develop until later in pregnancy), dehydration, preeclampsia, etc. Oh yeah, and your pee also confirms pregnancy. That too.
Many doctors take a blood sample to screen for HIV. I always freak out before they poke me, but it really doesn’t hurt that bad.
You’ll get to ask you doctor any questions or bring up any concerns you might have. Come prepared with your thoughts written down because it’s easy to forget what you wanted to say, and it’s tough to get a hold of doctors other than during your scheduled visits! Take advantage of that time!
But the best, most amazing and exciting and wonderful part of the first visit is by far your first ultrasound!!!!! Yep, you get to see you baby!!!
Because your little one is so tiny at this stage, it’s a vaginal ultrasound. You’ll have to undress from the waist down and put a sheet over your lower half.
You’ll get to watch the baby on a screen as the nurse takes measurements to make sure the baby is healthy and growing as he should. These measurements also give you a more accurate due date, just in case you guessed a little off on your last menstrual period.
Watch closely- sometimes you can see the baby moving!
Appointment 2: 14 weeks
You get a nice, long break before you have to come back in. At 14 weeks, it’s time to see the doctor for a routine checkup.
It’s all routine stuff- checking your vitals, taking measurements of your growing belly, Q&A with the doctor (come prepared!), and listening for baby’s heartbeat!
Yep- you get to hear the heartbeat today!!!! AAAAHHHHH! So exciting! I can’t keep it in! A baby’s heartbeat doesn’t sound like an adult’s heartbeat. It’s more of a swishing sound. There’s nothing so precious in all the world!
Appointment 3: 20-22 weeks
This is the magical appointment that we wait and wait for!
It’s the anatomy ultrasound!!! WOOOOO HOOOOO! That means you get to find out if your baby is a boy or a girl today (unless you’d rather keep it a surprise)!!!
This time, the baby has grown enough that the ultrasound can be performed without mom having to take off her pants. I know, SCORE!
Mom lays back, you get a lot of jelly on your tummy, and the nurse shows you your cute baby!! It’s so exciting because you can see the baby’s face, hands, legs, feet, and of course… genitals.
If you don’t want to find out the baby’s sex, make sure you speak up soon because the nurse might accidentally let it slip!
But the nurse checks a lot more than just the sex of the baby. She’ll also measure the heart, measure how tall baby is, and check out the baby’s organs like kidneys, bladder, stomach, etc. Then the nurse will check your placenta for complications such as placenta previa.
Appointment 4: 26-28 weeks
This check up is all routine.
See the doctor, pee in a cup, take your vitals, check up on baby.
But pay attention because you’ll receive very specific instructions for that glucose drink you’ll take right before your next appointment!
If you ask, you might get to choose the flavor of the drink too!
Appointment 5: 32 weeks
Besides your regular checkup stuff, you get to take your glucose test today!
Yippee! Ok, that was a sarcastic yippee.
You’ll hear a lot of negativity about how icky the drink tastes. It’s not very good, but it wasn’t too terrible for me. It is sugary and thick, kind of like drinking a melted otter pop. But it’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine!
Follow the doctor’s instructions carefully when you take this test to ensure accurate results. You might be asked to change your diet or not eat at all for a certain amount of time before you drink the liquid. Make sure you drink it right on time (your doctor will tell you when), because the glucose needs to work its magic for just the right amount of time before the doctor tests your blood.
Yes, that means you’ll get poked this time. Sorry mama!
But it’s worth it- this test checks for gestational diabetes, a common problem in pregnancy.
It is also common to do a Hemoglobin Test at this time, which checks to see if you are anemic (if there is enough iron in your blood). Hey, if they’re already poking you, they might as well check it out!
AND- you’ll start having appointments roughly every two weeks! That means you’re getting close to the end mama!
Appointment 6: 34 weeks
This week is a normal checkup, with no pokes! That’s awesome!
You’ll get to chat with the doctor, take vitals, check on baby. All that good stuff.
It’s kind of nice to have a boring doctor’s visit after that glucose test!
Appointment 7: 36 weeks
It’s time to pre-register at the hospital, if you haven’t already! Your baby could come any time, although we hope she’ll stay put for a little longer.
There is one exciting test for this appointment. It’s the Group B Strep Screening. For this test, you will swab the skin “down there” to check for the Group B Step bacteria. About 25% of women carry the bacteria, although most women show no signs or symptoms of having it.
No need to worry if you are a carrier- you’ll just need antibiotics during labor and delivery to keep your baby from getting sick if the bacteria is passed to him during labor.
Buckle up- starting next week, you’ll be seeing your doctor on a weekly basis! You’re almost ready to have this baby!!!
Appointment 8: 37 weeks
This check up is very routine. Your doctor is keeping a closer eye on you and your baby as you get closer to delivery.
She might check to make sure your baby is in the right position for delivery. She can feel your pelvis to see if the baby has “dropped” (moved away from your abdomen and toward your pelvis) and if the baby’s head is down.
Appointment 9: 38 weeks
During the weeks before labor, your body may show signs that this baby is on its way. Your doctor checks to see if your cervix is dilated and effaced as your due date approaches.
What in the heck does that mean??
Well, normally your cervix is closed tightly, but that needs to change for this baby to get out. Dilation means your cervix is opening. It will eventually dilate to 10 centimeters right before the baby is born… but that’s in the thick of labor. You might dilate a few centimeters during the weeks before labor.
Effacement measures how thin your cervix is becoming in preparation for labor. Right before the baby is ready to be born, you will be 100% effaced. Effacement can also begin during the weeks before labor.
Appointment 10: 39 weeks
That baby could be here any day! Everyone’s on pins and needles!
Your doctor will keep checking all for all the same signs that labor is near! You’re probably uncomfortable by now, so hang in there mama!
Try out some of the tips to get labor going found at The Bump.
Appointment 11: 40 weeks
40 weeks! Your due date is here!
If you’re past your due date, your doctor will be in close contact with you about your preferences regarding induction.
Being “induced” means that the doctor medically intervenes to get labor going. Some moms welcome this help, and some moms prefer to wait for their body to prepare for labor all on its own.
Check out some articles for both sides of the argument here:
Appointment 12: Labor!
Ahhh! It finally happened! Whether you were induced or labor started naturally, you’re finally having this baby!
You made it through all these crazy doctors visits, and now it’s the good part!
You’ll LOVE being a mom- even if it’s not your first baby. It’s always a joy to welcome a new little life to your family!
Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that?
It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!
I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.
I also worked as a parent educator!
All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here!