That's it, the test is positive: you're pregnant! Congratulation! Now you need to find where you will give birth to your little love and, at the same time, where you will do your pregnancy follow-up.
Appointment with a he althcare professional
Based on the date of your last period, you will be given an initial appointment with a he althcare professional (doctor or midwife). After this visit, which should be before the 12e week of pregnancy, you will have further appointments, first monthly, then bimonthly and finally weekly. These regular visits ensure that your pregnancy is going well. In addition, we can thus, if necessary, detect certain problems and, of course, better treat them. But that's not all: these visits give you the chance to ask all the questions that come to mind – and there can be many when you are going through so much change.
The father of the child can also participate in these visits.
While waiting for your next appointment, write down your questions, and the topics you would like to discuss with your doctor or midwife, in order todon't forget them when the day comes.
Frequency of pregnancy follow-up visits
Your visit schedule should look like this:
- Before 12 weeks of pregnancy: a first visit.
- From 12 to 30 weeks: one visit every 4 to 6 weeks.
- From 31 to 36 weeks: one visit every 2 or 3 weeks.
- From 37 weeks until delivery: one visit per week.
Depending on your clinic, doctor or midwife, remember that the frequency of pregnancy follow-up visits may vary. For example, if you have a particular he alth problem, these visits may be closer together.
At each of these visits, we will check:
- your weight;
- your blood pressure;
- the height of your uterus;
- your baby's pulse - listen to the heart.
Then you will have time to chat and ask your questions. If there is nothing to report, the visit should last about fifteen minutes, at most.
The first pregnancy follow-up appointment is longer than those that will follow. It takes place between your 8e and 12e week of pregnancy. Your doctor will take the time to get to know your he alth history in order to assess your situation. To do this, it will ask you a host of questions, like these:
- the date of your last menstrual period: this allows you to evaluate theDPA (expected date of delivery);
- your state of he alth before the pregnancy and, of course, how you have been feeling since;
- do you suffer from allergies, do you take medication, have you had surgery in the past, have you ever had depression…;
- is this your first pregnancy (including abortions and miscarriages, if applicable);
- what are your hereditary baggage, to you and to the father of the child; in short, what diseases are found in your family;
- have you ever had gynecological problems (surgery, herpes);
- do you use alcohol, tobacco, drugs?
It is also during this first meeting that he will check with you if your type of job entails risks for the unborn child.
In addition, depending on your condition, he will suggest that you take certain screening exams (for trisomy 21, among others). This is the time to ask your questions, in order to make well-informed decisions.
Physical and gynecological examinations
In addition, at this first visit, you will be given a complete physical examination, including a gynecological examination. Screening for sexually transmitted infections may also be recommended: indeed, several of these infections, going undetected, can have consequences on the he alth of the fetus and that of the mother.
Then, around the 36th week of pregnancy, you will be offered avaginal swab to check for the presence of group B streptococcus.
Blood tests and urine tests
Along the way, you will be ordered lab tests, which will include blood tests, urine tests, ultrasoundand birth defects screening tests, if needed.
These blood tests, as well as urine tests, allow you to check if you suffer from anemia, from infectious diseases and if your blood sugar is normal. We will also check your blood type and your rhesus factor, in order to take the necessary precautions in case you are Rh negative.
Thanks to these blood tests, we will also be able to know if you have antibodies against rubella (if this is not the case, you will be vaccinated probably right after giving birth). We can also determine if you have a urinary tract infection.
The ultrasound usually takes place between the 18e and the 20e week of pregnancy. This examination, which thrills most parents, does not only make it possible to know the sex of the unborn child. Thanks to it, you can also:
- determine the "age" of your pregnancy;
- check your baby's size;
- observe and ensure the he alth of the majority of the organs (heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, bladder, brain, etc.) as well as your baby's limb;
- check how many there arebabies;
- determine the location of your placenta.
Finally, don't forget that, depending on the maternity ward you have chosen and your condition, your pregnancy monitoring may not be quite the same as a girlfriend. If you have any questions, ask them! It is important that a bond of trust be established between you and the he althcare personnel who will accompany you throughout your pregnancy.
CHU Ste-Justine - Pregnancy and breastfeeding guide
He alth Canada - Genetic Testing and Screening