Early and frequent prenatal care is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Use this guide to learn what you can expect during your many prenatal visits.

Your First Prenatal Visit

Prenatal care during your pregnancy

When you first suspect you may be pregnant, call your doctor and set up your first prenatal visit. Your doctor will usually schedule this appointment at around eight weeks after your last menstrual period. During this appointment your doctor will confirm your pregnancy, establish a due date, take blood or urine samples and do a full physical exam. The visit may also include a breast exam, a pelvic exam to check your uterus and a cervical exam including a Pap test.

 

First Trimester (Weeks 1 - 12)

During early pregnancy, it's common to visit your doctor once a month from weeks 1 - 12. Most visits will include:

  • Checking your blood pressure and weight
  • Checking the baby's heart rate
  • Measuring your abdomen to check your baby's growth

Your visit may also include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
  • Ultrasound

Second Trimester (Weeks 13 - 24)

It's common to visit your doctor once a month from weeks 13 - 24 of your pregnancy. Most visits will include:

  • Checking your blood pressure and weight
  • Checking the baby's heart rate
  • Measuring your abdomen to check your baby's growth

You may also have these tests during your second trimester:

  • Maternal serum screen
  • Ultrasound
  • Amniocentesis

Third Trimester (Weeks 25 - 36)

To monitor your pregnancy from weeks 25 - 28, it's common to visit your doctor once a month. During weeks 29 - 36, you'll increase your doctor's visits to twice a month. After week 36, it's normal to visit your doctor every week.

Most visits will include:

  • Checking your blood pressure and weight
  • Checking the baby's heart rate
  • Measuring your abdomen to check your baby's growth

Some of the specific tests and procedures that may be done during the third trimester are:

  • Group B streptococcus screening
  • Electronic fetal heart monitoring
  • Nonstress test
  • Contraction stress test
  • Biophysical profile