Over the course of your pregnancy, you will have to meet your Midwife or Doctor regularly. They will check you and your baby, and also give you useful information about taking care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. During these appointments you can also ask them any questions or concerns you may have, especially if it’s your first baby.
Here is a general schedule appointments you will probably have during pregnancy, and a list of things to discuss with your midwife/doctor during each appointment:
Generally during this time will have first contact with your midwife or doctor, when you realize you are pregnant. Remember to tell them if you:
- Have had complications during previous pregnancies or deliveries
- Have a chronic disease such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- Have a family history of inherited abnormalities or diseases (neural tube defects, downs syndrome and thalassemia for example)
Remember to ask them about:
- Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Folic Acid supplements
- Proper Nutrition, diet, hygiene and exercise
- How a baby develops during pregnancy
- What antenatal screening tests you should plan to have
During this time, your midwife or doctor will discuss the option of a “dating scan”: this is an ultrasound scan to estimate more accurately when your baby is due. During this scan your baby’s healthy physical development will be screened as well. Screening for Downs Syndrome and other generic anomalies can be done at this time with blood tests and utlra sound scans. However, this is only available at private sector hospitals and can be costly. Discuss it with your doctor. If you have a lot of questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to write them down so you won’t forget to clarify them during your appointment. It is good to prioritize 2-3 questions that you are going ask your doctor.
Again your blood pressure will be checked, and you may also have to get a urine sample tested for protein.Around week 16, your doctor may discuss the option of a second ultrasound scan to screen for physical abnormalities.
After week 24, your appointments will become shorter but more frequent, especially if you have pregnancy related complications. Your doctor or mid-wife will routinely do the following:
- Check blood pressure and urine
- Feel your stomach to check the baby’s position
- Weigh you and measure your growing tummy with a tape to check your baby’s growth
- Listen to your baby’s heartbeat
Remember to discuss the following with your midwife or doctor:
- Premature birth: signs and symptoms of labor and what to do
- Your birth plan
During the last few weeks of pregnancy they may also ask you to record your baby’s movements and number of movements per day. They will also check to see what position your baby is ready to be born in, and advice you of your birth options if your baby is in breech (bottom-first) position. From week 36 onwards you will probably have weekly appointments with your doctor or midwife.
Remember to discuss the following with your doctor or midwife:
- Preparing for labor and birth
- Feeding and caring for your newborn: the basics
- Health care immediately after birth for your newborn
- Taking care of yourself immediately after birth
- Pain relief options in labor
- What happens if the baby is “late” or “I am past due”