You should go to the doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant. Early signs of pregnancy include missed periods, morning sickness, sore breasts, sleepiness, and frequent urination.
Your doctor or health care provider will ask questions about your health, any medicines you take, your family's health, and your lifestyle, in order to identify possible risks to your pregnancy.
2. BLOOD PRESSURE
A cuff will be wrapped around your arm and filled with air to check how well your heart is working. Your blood pressure may go up during pregnancy, so your doctor or health care provider will watch it closely to help your baby be born as healthy as possible.
3. WEIGHT AND HEIGHT
The nurse will measure how tall you are and how much you weigh now so your weight gain can be recorder throughout the pregnancy.
4. BLOOD TEST
You will have blood drawn from your arm to check your blood type and to look for disease such as anemia, sickle cell disease, hepatitis, syphilis and HIV. If any disease is present, you have to be treated right away.
You will be asked to pee into a small cup. The urine will be tested for sugar (diabetes), protein, and infections, which need ti be found early to keep you and your baby healthy.
6. PHYSICAL EXAM
Your health care provider will check your heart, lungs and other organs to find out if you have any conditions that need to be treated. You will also learn how to check your breasts for lumps.
7. PELVIC EXAM
You will lie on a table with your feet in supports so your health care provider can feel the size and shape of your uterus. This is done to see how the baby is developing to let you know when your baby is due. You may also get tests to detect other infections.
8. ABDOMINAL EXAM
The size of your uterus will be measured at each visit. The baby's position and size will be checked. You can hear the heart beat just after the fourth month.
An ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of the baby called sonograms. Most moms have the test done at least once during the pregnancy. The test is safe for you and for your baby.
The ultrasound may show:
- the age of your baby
- whether the baby is growing and developing normally
- whether or not you are carrying twins
- if it is a boy or a girl
- and how the placenta is growing
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Your health care provider might not talk about everything you want to know. Write down your questions so you won't forget them, and take your list with you to your prenatal visits.