Q&A: What Happens At OB Appointments?
Good question, considering you’ll have between 10 and 15 OB visits throughout the pregnancy. During the first and second trimester, you’ll see the doc roughly every four weeks, then every two weeks through week 36, and then weekly until delivery. At every visit, your blood pressure, weight and urine will be tested. The doc will also check the fetal heartbeat,and around week 20 start measuring your belly’s growth and checking baby’s position. As your due date approaches, she’ll also start checking your cervix's effacement (the amount it has shortened) and dilation (the amount it has opened) to judge the imminence of labor. Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will look for symptoms like swelling in your hands and feet (a possible sign of preeclampsia) and varicose veins in your legs. Depending on the week, you’ll also be given various prenatal screenings.
In addition to all this poking and prodding, you'll have a chance to ask questions and discuss your concerns. Keep a list of anything that comes up between visits so you won’t forget to ask when you have the chance. Your doc will fill you in on the changes to expect in the coming weeks,and let you know what is normal and what may be a cause for concern. If you plan to take any supplements, over the counter medications or herbal teas, bring them along and let your doc check the label first. Also, consider bringing your partner to a visit or two — it’s a good way to include him in the process and prepare him for delivery.