Every pregnant woman should attend periodic check-ups so that the specialist can make sure that everything goes well for both the mother and her child. These checkups are called prenatal checks and are of paramount importance for the well-being of the pregnant woman and her child.
Through the prenatal control, the specialist can monitor the evolution of pregnancy and prepare the mother for childbirth and child-rearing.
Prenatal checkups are usually performed in the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy, although the doctor may order more checks if he or she sees fit to see that the pregnancy goes smoothly.
In the first trimester of pregnancy (preferably between week 6 and week 12) the woman will have her first prenatal checkup. This is very important because in the first weeks of pregnancy correctives can be taken in the health of the mother and in the development of the baby.
At this medical appointment, the specialist will evaluate:
- Risk factors: Obesity, maternal age, consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
- Personal history such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, heart disease, respiratory or renal, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, among others.
- Family history and previous surgeries.
- Obstetric history: The history of previous pregnancies, obstetric surgeries, sterility and disease treatments and complications in previous pregnancies.
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In addition, you will find specific information about the current pregnancy as:
- Date of last menstruation.
- Gestational age.
- Estimated due date.
- Medical examinations
In this first control, the specialist can order the following medical examinations:
- PIE (immunological test of pregnancy) if the woman has not fully confirmed her pregnancy.
- HCS: Blood type test and compatibility of blood group of mother and baby.
- HB AND HTO: To evaluate the presence of anemia in the pregnant woman.
- Papanicolaou ( uterine cancer ).
- Transvaginal ultrasound (to look deeply at the development of the baby).
As a prevention, the doctor will be able to talk with the mother about some important risks in pregnancy such as:
- Effects of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs on pregnancy.
- Importance of physical activity.
- Importance of breastfeeding.
- Risk factors (according to the clinical history of each patient).
- Weight gain in pregnancy.
- Healthy nutrition.
- Risk of toxoplasmosis (contact with pets ).
- Signs of alarm (threat of abortion and premature birth).
- Dates of further checks.
In the second trimester of pregnancy, which runs from week 12 to week 24, important ultrasound exams, examinations, and vaccination schedule should be performed, as it is at this stage that the couple may have clearer fundamentals of baby development such as their sex, their measurements and even the possible diseases they may suffer.
Some important aspects to consider in the second trimester of pregnancy are:
This control identifies and discards risk factors such as:
- Presence of gestational diabetes.
- Urinary infections.
- Multiple pregnancies: The specialist can ask the mother if she had multiple pregnancies before performing the checkup and count the number of fetuses in the current pregnancy.
- The threat of preterm birth.
- Birth defects.
- Spontaneous abortion.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Physical exam
In this control, we will examine aspects such as blood pressure, weight, FHR, fetal activity or uterine height.
In the last trimester of pregnancy, the doctor will evaluate, among others:
- Blood pressure, weight, edema or fluid retention, fetal heart rate, fetal activity and fetal position.
Some tests that the doctor will order are:
- Check the cervix: To see if it is dilating and thinning.
Other tests are:
- Urine cytochemistry (for albumin and glucose ).
- VDRL or serological test for syphilis.
- HB ( hemoglobin) and HTO.
- Direct and GRAM Vaginal Flow: To detect vaginal and sexually transmitted infections.
- VF culture for group B Streptococcus: Between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy, the doctor will take a sample of the vagina and rectum to rule out the presence of a common infection called group B streptococcus.
- Obstetric ultrasound: Performed to determine the age, growth, position and sometimes sex of the baby, identify any problems in the development of the fetus, look for multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.) and evaluate the placenta, amniotic fluid, and pelvis.
The recommendations for the third quarter include:
- Recommendations and care if the couple is going to make trips this quarter.
- Postures and care when having sex.
- Pediatric care of the newborn.
- What parents should expect in labor.
From week 36 to delivery
When labor, delivery, and the baby’s arrival are imminent, a woman should come weekly (or sometimes several times a week) to her doctor to tell her what she needs to know this important process, which is to give birth to your child.
The specialist will order ultrasound and examinations that are convenient for the days before delivery.
The important thing is that in these quarterly consultations be honest with your doctor and ask the questions you require about gestation. This is the time to solve your doubts and know if you enjoy a healthy and calm pregnancy.