What Are The Stages Of Prenatal Care?

Expectant mothers are advised to seek prenatal care from their OB-GYN doctors. However, first-time mothers may not know what they should expect from these appointments. The content of your prenatal doctor's appointments will change as you progress through your pregnancy. Here is what you can expect during every stage of the process:

1. First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy refers to the moment of conception through the first twelve weeks. You may not be visibly pregnant at this point, but your body is undergoing many changes. During this time, your prenatal checkups will be used to give you an idea of what to expect throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor will advise you of any health challenges you may face. They will also provide nutritional counseling and let you know how much weight you should aim to gain during your pregnancy.

2. Second Trimester

The second trimester is when most expectant mothers become noticeably pregnant. During this time, you will continue seeing your doctor for monthly prenatal checkups. Many feel more energetic during their second trimester than they did during their first. However, your OB-GYN doctor can help you with any troublesome symptoms that you experience. They can provide guidance for women who experience morning sickness and even prescribe antiemetic medication for those whose morning sickness is severe.

3. Third Trimester

During the third trimester, you will see your doctor more regularly. Your doctor will monitor your baby's growth more closely during this stage, and they will also be on the lookout for signs of impending labor in you. You should keep a record of any pregnancy-related symptoms you experience since this information can help your prenatal care provider offer you the right advice and assistance. Your doctor may suggest that you develop a birth plan at this point if you haven't done so already.

4. Labor and Delivery

Expectant mothers will continue receiving prenatal care right up to the time when they give birth. When you arrive at the hospital or birth center to check in once your labor has begun, you will be evaluated by an OB-GYN doctor, midwife, or nurse. During this transitional time, your vital signs will be closely monitored. You may also be given a fetal heart rate monitor to wear so your unborn child's vital signs can be monitored as well. A health care practitioner will periodically perform a pelvic exam to check the dilation of your cervix, which will allow them to determine when you're ready to deliver your child.