Weeks 10-16: What to Expect at Your Prenatal Appointments
Throughout the course of your pregnancy, you will see your doctor about 14 times, assuming all tests are reassuring that your baby is developing just fine. After your initial prenatal appointment and until week 28 you should plan to see the doctor once a month. Here’s what you can expect at your second and third prenatal appointments.
Second prenatal appointment: Occurs between the 10th and 12th week of pregnancy
You’ll soon realize that almost every prenatal appointment starts with a nurse measuring your weight, temperature, and blood pressure and with a urine sample. The urine test looks for bacteria and high levels of sugar and protein in your system, which could indicate diabetes, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, or preeclampsia (high blood pressure). Preeclampsia typically occurs later in pregnancy if it occurs at all.
During the second prenatal appointment the doctor will discuss all the results of the pap, blood, and urine testing completed at your first prenatal appointment. In my office, this is when we discuss the results of the cystic fibrosis test (if administered), the Rh factor test, and the notes from your genetics counseling visit. If you choose to have a nuchal translucency screening (also called an NT scan) to test for the possibility of Down syndrome, this will be administered during your second appointment.
We will also use the Doppler to listen for the baby’s heartbeat. Bear in mind that it may be too soon to hear the heartbeat clearly, so do not worry if you don’t. By the way, a Doppler is a small, non-intrusive device that is placed over your abdomen to reveal your baby’s heartbeat. The machine uses ultrasound to convert sound waves.
Third prenatal appointment: Occurs between the 14th and 16th week of pregnancy
The second trimester begins at week 14 of your pregnancy. Around now you will hopefully begin to have more energy and less morning sickness. You may also start to appear pregnant.
While you may be feeling more pregnant now, your third prenatal appointment won’t differ much from your previous prenatal appointment.
If your doctor did not conduct tests for the presence of Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) in your blood, then you will undergo that testing now, assuming you requested prenatal genetics testing. AFP testing looks for risk of Down syndrome, trisomy 18, neural tube defects, and other birth defects. These tests can be a combination of blood test, ultrasound, and amniocentesis (see our previous post about genetics testing).
As always, your prenatal appointment is an opportunity to ask questions about your pregnancy and upcoming labor and delivery. Arrive prepared to ask questions.
This is the sixth article in a series of articles dedicated to expecting moms here in Connecticut. Visit us often to learn more about prenatal care.