Are you feeling unsure as to when or how often you should visit your OBGYN? While sometimes visits to your obstetrician or gynecologist can feel daunting, they are essential to your health and your baby’s health, if you happen to be pregnant. Maintaining the frequency of these visits is important to maintaining your well being. In this blog, we’ll delve into how frequent your visits will be throughout various circumstances, such as pregnancy and changes in your menstrual cycle.
Visiting Your Obstetrician Throughout Your Pregnancy
During pregnancy, visits to your obstetrician’s office will become part of your regular routine and will become more frequent as you get closer to your due date. From weeks 8 to 28, your visits will be monthly. As you move to weeks 28 through 36, you’ll be seeing your obstetrician every other week. The last month of your pregnancy will have you visiting your OB on a weekly basis. The recommended number of visits can increase if you are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or if other risk factors are present in your pregnancy. Some of the risk factors include having a pregnancy complicated by advanced maternal age (a woman is 35 or older), pre-existing health conditions, and issues that may develop during your pregnancy.
Prenatal care is of the utmost importance, and it is integral that you don’t miss these visits in order to ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible. Expectant mothers who maintain their prenatal obstetrician visits are less likely to give birth to a baby with low birth weight. At these visits, you can expect to get your weight and blood pressure take. You’ll have a urine sample taken, get checked for swelling, and hear your baby’s heartbeat. Typically, we’ll begin listening to your baby’s heartbeat around 10 weeks. As the second-trimester approaches, you’ll begin getting your stomach measured to follow the baby’s size. Between 26-28 weeks you will have a glucose test for gestational diabetes. You will also be screened for anemia and offered the Tdap vaccine. At 36 weeks gestation, we typically perform a group B strep culture and begin checking for cervical change.
Visiting Your Obstetrician With Complicated Pregnancy
If risk factors are present, you may need to undergo increased monitoring. This expanded testing and monitoring may include non-stress tests, ultrasounds, and blood work.
When preparing to visit your obgyn, we encourage you to come with all your questions and concerns. Your OB is there to answer those questions and give you the guidance you need. Also, keep track of any symptoms or bodily changes that you need to discuss with your doctor.
General Health and Well-Woman Visits
When it comes to well-woman and general health visits with their gynecologists, women should be receiving one pelvic exam a year. Typically, the yearly appointment includes a pelvic exam and a wellness check, in which a breast exam will be performed. Depending on your history you may require a Pap smear, blood work, or cultures.
Regardless of whether or not you are due for a well-woman or general health visit to your gynecologist, you should reach out to your physician if you experience symptoms that include, but are not limited to changes in menstruation, pelvic pain beyond menstrual cramping or unusual vaginal discharge. If you need birth control or permanent contraception you should also reach out to your gynecologist. If you have a concern regarding your health, it is always prudent to err on the side of caution.
At West Des Moines OB/GYN, we are committed to your care and are happy to walk you through all stages and concerns surrounding your pregnancy, reproductive health, and overall well-being. Learn more about our services and how you can schedule an appointment with us today.