Prenatal visits are an important part of your pregnancy. Regularly scheduled prenatal care is necessary to monitor the health of the growing baby and your health as the mother. You should schedule your first prenatal visit as soon as you know that you are pregnant.
First Trimester Visits (Weeks 1-12)
You will see your doctor about every four weeks during the first trimester unless you have a medical condition that requires you to be monitored more closely. During your first visits, you can expect the doctor to:
- Take your entire health history and family health history
- Explain your options for prenatal genetic testing to detect for Down syndrome, chromosomal conditions, and other birth defects
- Perform first trimester prenatal screening tests to check for conditions such as anemia, hepatitis B, urinary tract infections, and many other conditions that could affect your health or the health of the baby
- Conduct a thorough physical examination, including a pelvic examination
- Counsel you regarding maintaining your health during pregnancy, such as eating well, exercising, and refraining from smoking or drinking alcohol
- Address your questions about the journey ahead for you and your baby during your pregnancy
Second Trimester Visits (Weeks 13-26)
During the second trimester, you can expect to continue monthly visits with your doctor that include:
- Questions about your condition, including how you are feeling emotionally and physically, and whether you have noticed any spotting or bleeding or any symptoms that are concerning you
- Recording your weight to ensure that you are gaining an appropriate amount for the developing baby
- Checking your blood pressure and urine for indications of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, or gestational diabetes
- Listening to your baby’s heartbeat and an ultrasound where you can learn the baby’s sex if you choose to
- A physical examination, including measuring your belly to estimate the baby’s size and growth rate
- Discussing available screening and diagnostic testing for genetic disorders
- Counseling regarding childbirth and breastfeeding education classes in your area
- Addressing any concerns you have about your pregnancy or health
Third Trimester Visits (Weeks 27-40)
You will visit your doctor more frequently during your last trimester. Beginning at 27-28 weeks, you will have a checkup every two weeks. Then at 36 weeks, you will have a checkup each week until delivery. At these prenatal visits you can expect:
- Questions about your baby’s movement and your overall health, including any symptoms you have been experiencing such as swelling, headaches, fatigue, or contractions
- A physical exam, including belly measurement and weight, and potentially a pelvic exam if the doctor cannot determine whether the baby is in the head-down position in preparation for birth
- A test for group B strep, a common infection that requires antibiotics during labor to keep you from passing to your baby
- Tests for anemia, gestational diabetes, and any STDs if you are at-risk
- Discussion of the signs of labor and what to expect when you go into labor and during delivery
In your third trimester, the baby is developing to the age of viability (the ability to survive when born prematurely). Premature babies, however, are at a high risk for chronic or long-term medical conditions, such as sepsis, cerebral palsy, blindness, or pulmonary hemorrhages. Your doctor should be assessing your condition to identify any problems that might result in premature labor.
Birth Injuries Due to Medical Negligence
Although you do everything you can to prepare to give your little one a healthy start in life, the sad reality is that birth injuries do affect over 25,000 infants each year. These injuries can be caused by misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of conditions that should have been recognized during pregnancy or they can be caused by medical mistakes made during labor and delivery.
If your child suffered injuries because of mistakes made by the medical professionals responsible for your care, those doctors, nurses, and other professionals may be held accountable for failing to protect your developing baby from harm.
The law firm of Kline & Specter, PC, includes more than 30 experienced litigation attorneys, five of whom are physicians, are dedicated to helping families seek justice for birth injuries. The firm has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. If your child suffered injury due to medical negligence, please call them for a free consultation.