Antenatal Check-upsRegular antenatal check-ups are normally recommended from the time you are 8 weeks pregnant onwards, in order to make sure everything is progressing as it should.Most healthcare professionals recommend that you should have these routine antenatal check-ups at monthly intervals from 8 weeksa> until 28 weeks, then every other week until 35 to 36 weeks pregnant. After 36 weeks they are weekly until you deliver.Your partner can go with you to these prenatal visits and, especially if this is the father of your baby, it is a good idea to take him along on the very first visit as the midwife will have questions about your family histories. Even working out how many weeks pregnant you are is often easier when you both calculate it together. The first two weeks of pregnancy can often go unnoticed and the more accurate your predicted childbirth date, the more closely you and your medical providers will know what to expect.
Perhaps most importantly, by going along right from the start, your partner will feel more involved with the baby and have a better understanding of your prenatal care by sharing the experience with you in this way, from the first weeks of pregnancy until the actual birth.If you don’t have a partner to invite on your prenatal visits, why not ask a friend or relative to accompany you? Many people are thrilled to have such an opportunity to share the excitement of pregnancy and can be a great support and encouragement.You will usually see a midwife at antenatal appointments but you may see a doctor if there are any complications with your pregnancy or if that happens to be the way your practice handles prenatal care.Each time you go for an antenatal check you need to take a urine specimen. This is tested on the spot by a midwife to confirm that there are no abnormalities.Your blood pressure is taken on each visit. It is normal for your blood pressure to drop slightly during the middle trimester of pregnancy and to rise slightly in the last trimester (usually from 27 weeks pregnant onwards).Most women soon begin to look forward to the opportunity to ask questions about pregnancy and their own progress. My own experience was that my memory seemed to be affected by pregnancy hormones…at least, that’s my excuse! – so I began jotting down the things I wanted to ask about at my next appointment so I wouldn’t forget them.Even if your healthcare professional seems very busy, if there is something on your mind, never feel too afraid to ask. It’s better to take a few moments of their time than to have to worry about something for weeks, or have to try and find the info you need on the web.