This is the first post! I figured a good way to start off a pregnancy blog is with a quick overview of what to expect when you’re expecting (I know, it’s overused, but it’s such a catchy phrase!). Don’t forget, this is just a vague overview to familiarize you. Your own doctor will give you specific details pertaining to your pregnancy.
First Trimester: Conception to 12 Weeks
Be prepared to visit your doctor about once per month during your first trimester. On your first visit (generally when you are 4-8 weeks along), your doc will do a full physical exam, including a pap smear, (depending on how recently your last one was), STD screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and also some blood work. Also, your baby’s gestational age (aka how far along you are and your due date) will be determined. Depending on how far along you are (generally if you are over 12 weeks), your doctor will listen for fetal heart tones, that’s your baby’s heart rate. Nuchal translucency screening will be done around week 10-12 and your first chromosomal disorder screening is done between week 10-14 (these tests are optional depending on your wishes. Please discuss the risks and benefits with your physician). Also, your doctor will arrange for a formal ultrasound around this time. If you are older than 35 years old or have any risk factors that may make your pregnancy more high risk/complicated, your physician may refer you to a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist at the start of your pregnancy.
Second Trimester: 12 to 24 Weeks
You’ll still be visiting your doc about once per month. Between 15 to 18 weeks you will be offered a triple screen for chromosomal abnormalities. Around 16 weeks, you will start to really show your bump, if you already haven’t done so! Most people wait until around this time to tell their friends and family! Also, between 16 to 20 weeks you will start to feel your baby kick. You may want to start considering registering for some prenatal classes at this point.
Third Trimester: 24 Weeks to Delivery
Your doctor visits will increase to about every two to three weeks. At around 26 weeks, you will be tested for gestational diabetes. At around 28 weeks, your doctor will likely suggest to do fetal counts and discuss signs of preterm labor with you. By 32 weeks, your baby is taking it’s final position in your belly and pelvis so your doctor will determine your baby’s position. Between 35 to 37 weeks, you will have a vaginal culture for group B strep (this is done on everyone and is not a sexually transmitted disease that you are being tested for).
At around 36 weeks, you will usually start to visit your doctor every week or even more if you have a high risk pregnancy. At about 37-38 weeks, your doctor will do weekly cervical checks to see if you are dilating yet. At around 39 weeks, depending on your doctors preference of practice, you may be induced if your cervix is ready. Once you hit 40 weeks, you’re officially full term and your baby should be coming out ASAP if he/she hasn’t done so yet! After this point, you will have close surveillance for post-dates. If your baby decides to hang out until 42 weeks, most doctors will induce you at this point for post-dates.