Prenatal Follow-Up Visits

Once pregnancy has been confirmed, your prenatal follow-up will begin. The types of tests done from this point on are highly individualized.

Your First Visit

In most cases, your physician will do a complete physical examination, including a vaginal and breast exam, once your pregnancy is confirmed. If a Pap smear has not been done recently, it will also probably be done at this time.

If your examination goes well, you will be told to return in about four to six weeks until the twenty-eighth week, every four weeks thereafter until the thirty-sixth week, and then every one to two weeks until labor begins. If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, these time intervals may be slightly altered.

Testing for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and other infections is commonly done early in pregnancy to ensure your baby’s safety. These tests are routine; you should not feel that your physician is suspicious of anything in particular.

The Due Date

During one of your early prenatal visits, your physician will determine your expected date of delivery (EDD). Knowing the approximate due date is of particular importance in high-risk pregnancies. Should your baby be in distress during your pregnancy; your physician’s interventions will depend upon your due date.

Charts are available to give quick answers to your questions, but if you want to know how your EDD was determined, you can figure it out yourself by counting forty weeks or 280 days from the first day of your last period. An even easier way is to use the following rule: add seven days to the first day of your last period; subtract three months; add one year. This will be your expected due date. Remember, this is just an estimated date based on women who have menstrual cycles of twenty-eight days. If your cycle is irregular, your ovulation time will be different, as will your due date.

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