A prenatal care doctor is essentially an OB/GYN—a physician who specializes in providing care for women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. A prenatal care doctor is equipped to manage complex or high-risk pregnancies as well as perform the necessary interventions and procedures (e.g., cesarean section). It goes without saying that working with a prenatal care doctor is central to ensuring a healthy pregnancy and a successful delivery.
Read on to learn about the best time to start seeing a prenatal care doctor as well as what to expect during your visits.
When to Start Visiting a Prenatal Care Doctor
There’s no right or wrong time as to when you should start visiting a prenatal care doctor. However, the American Pregnancy Association recommends that women see one around eight weeks after their last menstrual period. You may also choose to see a prenatal care doctor soon after you’ve had a positive pregnancy test result.
What to Expect at Your Visits to Your Prenatal Care Doctor
During your visit to your prenatal care doctor, they will carry out a full physical exam (a pelvic exam to check your uterus; a cervical exam, including a pap smear; and a breast exam) and ask some questions about your personal and family health history, lifestyle, and current state of health.
Additionally, your doctor will likely perform a number of tests to determine any potential health problems and mitigate them as early as possible. These can include blood work and urinalysis to test for gestational diabetes, anemia, and potentially harmful infections, such as toxoplasmosis, chlamydia, and HIV. Your first visit to your prenatal care doctor is also the time when they will discuss your vaccinations and start prescribing vitamins and supplements.
From week 8 through 27, you will have to see your prenatal care doctor once a month. At each of these visits, your doctor will check your weight and vital signs and monitor the growth and development of your baby.
Between weeks 10 and 18, your prenatal care doctor may also order genetic carrier screening, if you or your partner has risk factors for certain genetic disorders.
Between weeks 18 and 22, your prenatal care doctor will perform an abdominal ultrasound to determine the sex of your baby, estimate their size, and evaluate their growth rate and position.
From week 28 through 36, you will have to see your prenatal care doctor every two weeks. You will then have to switch to seeing them every week during your last month until you deliver.
Prenatal Care Doctor in Yorkville, Sandwich, Plainfield, and Aurora, IL
If you’re looking for a reliable prenatal care doctor within the Yorkville, Sandwich, Plainfield, or Aurora area in Illinois, visit us at Aishling Obstetrics & Gynecology. We have board-certified OB/GYNs on our team who are all committed to providing expectant mothers with high-quality and personalized care— to guiding them throughout their pregnancies and giving their babies the best possible start in life.
To learn more about our obstetric services or to see one of our prenatal care doctors, contact us at the office most convenient to you.