Prenatal Exams, Tests, and Procedures

Rerun image During your pregnancy, you will experience a variety of exams, tests, and procedures. Some of the tests are routine for all pregnant women. Others are optional or may be recommended by your healthcare provider in certain situations or if there are complications. You should keep all appointments with your healthcare provider so that problems can be detected as soon as possible. If any problems orpotential problems are identified, your healthcare provider can plan for yourcare as necessary. During each visit, you will be asked aboutany symptoms or problems you may be having, particularly:

  • Bleeding
  • Contractions
  • Leakage of fluid
  • Regular movement of your baby once you start feeling your baby moving
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of your hands or feet
  • Medication use

What Will My Healthcare Provider Look for During Prenatal Exams?

Your healthcare provider will look for and ask about signs and symptoms at thevarious stages of pregnancy including:
  • Symptoms of early pregnancy, such as morning sickness, breastenlargement and tenderness, and frequent urination
  • An embryo, viewed with ultrasound
  • Enlarged uterus
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Fetal heartbeat
  • Movement of the baby
  • Changes in your vagina, cervix, and skin

What Routine Tests and Procedures Can I Expect to Have?

You will probably have the following routine tests andprocedures:
  • Pelvic exam, to determine the size of your pelvis and uterus
  • Pap smear, very early in the pregnancy if you have not had a recent one
  • Weight measurement and blood pressure (at each visit)
  • Determination of gestational age and due date
  • Urine tests to check for protein, sugar, and bacteria
  • Assessment of the size and position of the fetus
  • Blood tests to check for anemia, diabetes, blood type, Rhfactor, rubella antibodies, syphilis, hepatitis, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Exam of your lower legs and ankles for swelling
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a vaginal/rectal culture for Group B streptococcus (at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy) to prevent infection of the baby during labor and delivery. Women with certain medical conditions have a higher risk ofhaving problems during pregnancy and, therefore, may need additional regularprenatal testing like ultrasounds. Examples include women with high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, multiple pregnancies (2or more fetuses), too much or too little amniotic fluid, orpost-term pregnancy.

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