Pregnancy can be an overwhelming experience for an expectant mother. Especially for first-time moms, it’s easy to get lost in all the things you need to do. However, the most important thing to note is how essential it is to regularly monitor your pregnancy. Doing so allows the early detection and treatment of potential health problems, increasing your chances of developing a normal pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby.
Now that we know the importance of regular pregnancy monitoring, the next thing to do is to get started. Here are some of the routine procedures that you may need to keep tabs on your pregnancy.
First trip to the doctor
Your initial consultation with your doctor could be the most comprehensive one, as your healthcare provider will collect as much medical information about you and your extended family as possible. Doing so will help determine which examinations and treatments you might need throughout the course of your pregnancy. When meeting your doctor for the first time, it is best to have your partner accompany you in case the physician requires additional information.
Undergoing blood tests
Blood tests may be offered immediately after your first visit to detect any risk of a particular infection or hereditary condition. These blood tests will determine a lot of factors: your blood group, your Rhesus factor, and whether or not you have certain conditions like anemia and infections such as hepatitis B, HIV, syphilis, or rubella.
A blood test will also determine whether you have gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes that occurs in some women during their third trimester of pregnancy and disappears after the baby is delivered.
Getting an ultrasound
During the first trimester of your pregnancy, an ultrasound is usually requested to confirm pregnancy, determine the age of gestation and estimate a due date, check the fetal heartbeat, check for multiple pregnancies, and examine the placenta and uterus. It will also detect any abnormal growth in the baby.
Your doctor can also request an ultrasound during the second or third trimester depending on the purpose. Normally, this is done for the purposes of determining the baby’s sex and monitoring his or her growth and position. However, it can also be recommended for pregnant mothers who are at risk of developing certain conditions, such as Down syndrome, low amniotic fluid, and other birth defects.
Doing a kick count
Beginning in the 28th week of your pregnancy, your doctor may advise you to count your baby’s kicks and keep a record of them. Doing so is one way of monitoring your baby’s well-being. Plus, it has been linked to a decrease in stillbirth cases.
To do a count kick, first pick a time of day when your child is most active. You can lie on your side or sit with your feet up when counting your baby’s movements, which include twists, turns, rolls, jabs, and swishes. Take note of the number of minutes it takes until 10 kicks are counted. The length of the procedure may take 10 to 15 minutes, or even up to two hours in some women. Don’t forget to bring your record on your next doctor’s appointment.
Getting a non-stress test
If it takes longer than two hours to record 10 kicks, refer to your doctor right away. He or she may recommend a fetal non-stress test, which will check the baby’s heart rate in response to his or her movements, indicating your baby’s oxygen supply inside the womb. During the procedure, two belts with monitors will be strapped across your abdomen: one transducer will record your baby’s heart rate while a toco transducer will record any contractions you may have. A nonreactive result, which occurs when the baby’s heart rate does not accelerate at a certain level upon movement, may require further testing or immediate intervention.
There are different procedures involved throughout pregnancy and it’s normal to feel dazed. But by being in constant collaboration with your doctor and by regularly monitoring your health, you will find out how pregnancy can simply go by like a breeze.