Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Doctor Appointments During Pregnancy

Over the course of pregnancy, you go to a LOT of doctor's appointments. In the beginning of pregnancy, you go every 4 weeks, and then slowly start going more and more until the last few weeks where you're going once a week! With each appointment, I walked in with a little bit of apprehension: What exactly is going to happen at my appointment today? Will I be in the stirrups? Will I need to put on a gown? Will I be fully clothed? Is this just an ultrasound or is it blood work? If it's blood work, should I have fasted? Should I have my bladder full or empty? I really never knew what I was walking into. I've had a lot of friends ask me about these appointments, so here is a general breakdown of how it went.
Source
Each doctor may do things a little bit differently depending on their office policy, and each specific pregnancy. This is how my appointments went for me.

8 Weeks: Appointment #1
Took a LOT of blood. But I didn't need to fast, and I didn't feel light headed at all. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Vaginal ultrasound because the baby was still too small at that point for them to do the regular ultrasound. This appointment confirmed for us that we were in fact, pregnant. Received packets of information and trial packs of prenatal vitamins in addition to our first ultrasound pictures!

12 Weeks: Appointment #2
Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Second ultrasound. Done on the stomach, Met with a separate ultrasound technician for our second ultrasound. Blood was taken again, but significantly less than the first appointment. Met with doctor for about 5 minutes just to touch base and ask her any questions we had on our mind.

16 Weeks: Appointment #3:
Quick appointment, no ultrasound, checked baby's heart rate with a fetal heart monitor (on the stomach) and took some more blood. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken.

20 Week Anatomy Scan: 
Done at the hospital. Lasted about 45 minutes. They will check all the limbs and organs and tell you gender if you want to know. If the baby isn't in a good position they may try to make him/her move around by poking your stomach or asking you to empty your bladder.
This is followed up with Appointment #4 a few days later:
Went over results of anatomy scan. (All good!) Recommended pediatricians and lamaze/lactation/parenting classes at the hospital. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. 

23 Weeks: Appointment #5:
Another quick appointment, Just checked the heartbeat with fetal heart monitor. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Given my glucose drink to take home with me for my next appointment.

27 Weeks: Appointment #6:
Glucose Test - Had to drink orange glucose drink 30-45 minutes before appointment, then went to office for blood work. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Checked baby's heartbeat, asked if we have any questions.

In that same week, I had a second 3 hour glucose test because I failed the first one:

28 Weeks: Appointment #7:
RhoGAM Shot if you are RH-Negative

30 Weeks: Appointment #8:
Third trimester sonogram: Met with sonographer - got 3D pictures in addition to regular ultrasound pictures. This was very surprising, I wasn't expecting that! Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Tthen met with doctor who basically just answered any questions I had.


32 Weeks: Appointment #9:
Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Doctor checked heart beat with monitor, asked us if we had any questions and that was it.

34 Weeks: Appointment #10:
Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Doctor checked heart beat with monitor, asked us if we had any questions and that was it.

36 Weeks: Appointment #11:
Vaginal exam - Swab in the hoo-ha and rectum for Group B Strep bacteria, check baby's heart-rate. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken.

37-40 Weeks: Appointment #12-#15:
Vaginal Exam to see if you're dilated (opening up), and effaced (thinning and stretching out of the cervix). For your reference, at these appointments I've been about 1 centimeter dilated. By the time I am in labor and ready to deliver I will go to 10 centimeters dilated. These exams are a bit painful and may cause some bleeding. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken at each one. Doctor checks heart beat with monitor, asked us if we had any questions. (I got the flu shot at my 37 week visit)


My Advice:
*Always go in with questions. They will ask you for questions at every visit and may not necessarily prompt you otherwise. I found that even if I asked one silly question that I may have already known the answer to, it got the doctor started on a conversation and would eventually lead to other discussion topics. I kept a list in my "notes" app on my iphone of questions. Whenever they'd come to me (on the subway, lying in bed at night) I'd add it to my notes to pull up at my next appointment.

*You may see one doctor in particular for your regular OB appointments, but if there are many doctors in the practice you go to, you could get any one of them on the day you deliver. Try and see them all at least once so you are not meeting a stranger in the delivery room.
 
*Go first thing in the morning. They won't be backed up from appointments throughout the day and you will be in and out much more quickly.

*I was very lucky that Chris was able to go to every single appointment with me. Though it isn't necessary for him to be there at every single one, it was nice to do together. My doctor said to me "The partners tend come to every appointment for the first child...after that, not so much" If your partner cannot attend every appointment with you, make sure they are there for the main ultrasound appointments. Those are the exciting ones! :)

*Peeing into a cup is hard. Peeing into a cup with a belly the size of a basketball is even harder. I have no advice for you on that...good luck. 

Did your appointments follow the same general outline? Any other words of wisdom you can impart?

12 comments:

  1. What a great post. Full of good advice and information. Boy a lot has changed since I was pregnant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! Yes, it does seem that way!

      Delete
  2. I always feel as if I'm asking such stupid questions. I worry if I complain about swelling or discomfort they will say something like "Yeah thats pregnancy for ya!" I'm actually going this week and I have to ask about the swelling and dizziness. It's just my feet and fingers but with the dizziness I'm getting a little nervous. I agree completely with peeing in the cup!!! Plus if you hold it in knowing you gotta go when you get in there, its like a horse, lol. I've learned to hold the cup tight! My doctor is the opposite. I usually make 1pm appointments. Whenever I would make the first appointment the doctor would still be stuck at the hospital in delivery. Our office usually calls the mid morning patients and reschedules so the afternoons I'm always in and out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean, and I also always feel like they must get the sammmme questions day after day after day. I hope they have an answer for your swelling and dizziness! I think dizziness should def. be a concern that you should talk to them about. Very interesting about 1pm appts. That's nice that they call to reschedule if need be...how many doctors are in your practice? will they really have doctor's come in for the morning shift after working an overnight at the hospital?

      Delete
  3. Peeing in a cup during pregnancy is the worst....why isn't there an invention to make that easier yet??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. omg agreed! If we could come up with that invention we'll be millionaires!! How do we get started?!?! Although, there is this: http://www.go-girl.com/

      Also with that: every girl would have to have her own to use and bring with her - because I wouldn't want to "re-use" that from somebody else...

      Delete
  4. Haha! I kept thinking throughout this, how the heck do you pee in a cup while pregnant. That can't be easy. And you are right. It is hard enough while not being pregnant. Yikes! This is a great breakdown of what to expect for those that have never gone through it. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope it proves helpful/useful to you one day when you need it for reference!

      Delete
  5. LMAO - YES peeing in a cup at this point is a joke!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. totally! Honestly - I was terrible at it from the start...I really never had it down, but this just takes it to a whole new level.

      Delete
  6. Mine followed a similar schedule though I had an ultrasound at my first appt. at around 5 weeks just to confirm the pregnancy and due date then again around 9 weeks to make sure there was still a heartbeat and growing on track. We didn't do the 12 week ultrasound because we didn't want to know if there were any abnormalities since we would have continued with the pregnancy regardless.

    My husband came to the first two appointments and the 20 week because he wanted to see the ultrasounds. He also came to the 40 week appointment so he could meet the doctor who was delivering me and ask any last minute questions. But all other appts I went to alone because I was in and out in 5 minutes and it seemed silly for him to take off work all the time for routine stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mine followed pretty much the same schedule, only at my first appointment there was no ultrasound because I was only about 7 weeks. I went back a week later for the transvaginal ultrasound to further confirm the pregnancy.

    I didn't get an ultrasound at 30 weeks, I was told I would get another around 34 weeks. They have also only taken a urine sample from me once at the beginning. My husband has come with me to the ultrasounds, the very first appointment and to the glucose screening because I have been known to pass out during blood draws. Thank god he was their because I almost passed out and did not feel like driving home afterwards.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave me some lovin' and thanks for stopping by!