Medical Care – Prenatal and Beyond

Prenatal Check-ups

Prenatal care is so important for you and your baby’s health. As soon as you find out or suspect you are pregnant, you should call your “provider” to make an appointment. Your provider can be a family doctor that sees pregnant women, an OB/GYN, a nurse practitioner, or a midwife. Who you decide to see will depend on a lot of things like your insurance coverage, clinic location, and/or personal preferences.

When calling to make your appointment, it will be helpful to know when your last period started. Your first prenatal checkup will probably take place when you are between 8 and 12 weeks pregnant.

After your first visit, you will start seeing your provider:

  • Every 4 weeks until you reach 28 weeks
  • Every 2 weeks from 28 – 36 weeks
  • Every week from 36 – 41 weeks
  • Every day if you go over 41 weeks

During the course of your pregnancy, your provider will ask you questions about your overall health, family history, and pregnancy history. These are other things your provider will check you for:

  • Check your blood pressure and weight (every time)
  • Listen for baby’s heart beat (after 12 weeks)
  • Test your urine and blood
  • Do a pelvic exam
  • Test you for sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs)
  • Measure fundal height (measures from your public bone to the top of your uterus)
  • Schedule an ultrasound
  • Test you for gestational diabetes – usually between 24 and 28 weeks
  • Test you for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) – usually between 35 and 37 weeks
  • Other specialized tests as needed


6 Week Postpartum Check-up

Your provider will want to see you about 6 weeks after you had your baby. You may need to see your provider earlier than six-weeks if you’ve had any complications or to check your incision if you had a C-section.

Every doctor and clinic is different, but your provider will probably:

  • Check your weight, blood pressure, and temperature
  • Ask about any bleeding and discharge, incontinence (not able to hold your urine), breast pain, or perineal (bottom) pain
  • Ask how breastfeeding is going
  • Ask about your mental health – if you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed
  • Ask you about your plans for about birth control
  • Let you know if its ok to start having sexual intercourse and exercise
  • Do an exam of your breasts, genitals, vagina, cervix, abdomen


Well Baby Check-ups

During your baby’s first year of life, your baby’s pediatrician will want to see your baby on a regular basis. You will probably take between 6 and 7 trips to the doctor for well-baby visits.

              • A few days old
              • 1 month old
              • 2 months old
              • 4 months old
              • 6 months old
              • 9 months old (sometimes)
              • 1 year old

This is just the schedule for when your baby is healthy. If your child is sick, you will make more trips to see you baby’s doctor. Every doctor and clinic is different, but your baby’s pediatrician will:

  • Check your baby’s height, weight, head circumference, and temperature
  • Do a head-to-toe exam
  • Check your baby’s development
  • Ask about your baby’s feeding, sleeping, and how many wet/soiled diapers he has had
  • Ask if your baby is sleeping on his back at night and if he is getting tummy time when he’s awake


Make the most of your visits

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend the following for making the most of your visits:

  • Write a list of questions
  • Write down signs and symptoms
  • Bring a list of your medications (or bring the bottles)
  • Be ready to give your health history