Lots And Lots Of Doctor’s Visits

The average pregnancy lasts for nine months and is divided into three equal trimesters. Each trimester lasts for three months, with lots of activity happening for both mom and baby. From the minute a woman becomes pregnant, experts recommend routine prenatal care by visiting an OB/GYN or midwife regularly throughout the pregnancy. So, how many prenatal care appointments should a pregnant woman undergo?

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Trimesters and frequency

The total number of doctor visits during pregnancy depends on when a woman is first tested. Depending on when pregnancy is detected, the usual range for a healthy pregnancy with no complications is 10-15 doctor’s appointments throughout gestation. But appointment frequency increases as a woman progresses through the pregnancy. From weeks 4-28, a woman will usually see the doctor once a month. In the second trimester and until the eighth month of pregnancy, weeks 28-36, visits increase to every other week or twice a month. In the final month of pregnancy, appointment frequency increases to every week until a woman gives birth.

Pre-existing conditions, age, and appointment frequency

Other scenarios may also increase how often a woman sees an OB/GYN. In particular, women with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, or even HIV may see a doctor more frequently. Likewise, women that are not within normal weight ranges might see a doctor more often. And expectant mothers older than 35 can also expect to have more doctor’s visits. Also, note that if a woman develops unexpected health conditions during pregnancy such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-related high blood pressure, more appointments may be necessary.

Additional testing

Prenatal visits often include additional testing. A woman may have blood drawn, provide a urine sample, or undergo fetal heart rate monitoring. Prenatal visits might also focus on testing for fetal abnormalities as well as confirming that a woman is within the recommended weight range based on pre-pregnancy weight and current gestational timelines.

Why routine prenatal care matters

Along with experiencing major milestones like ultrasounds or discovering the baby’s gender, routine prenatal care is essential for ensuring that a pregnancy is progressing properly and addressing any potential issues. Likewise, determining a mother’s rhesus or Rh factor is essential for women who are found to be Rh-negative. While pregnancy is common, the process can be taxing for many women, which is why having proper care is essential to address potential problems before complications occur. Once a woman confirms a pregnancy, finding proper prenatal care and maintaining doctor’s visits throughout the pregnancy should be a priority.

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