During your pregnancy, you will experience a variety of exams, tests, and procedures. Some of the tests are routine for all pregnant women. Others are optional or may be recommended by your healthcare provider in certain situations or if there are complications.
You should keep all appointments with your healthcare provider so that problems can be detected as soon as possible. If any problems or potential problems are identified, your healthcare provider can plan for your care as necessary. During each visit, you will be asked about any symptoms or problems you may be having, particularly:
Your healthcare provider will look for and ask about signs and symptoms at the various stages of pregnancy including:
You will probably have the following routine tests and procedures:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a vaginal/rectal culture for Group B streptococcus (at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy) to prevent infection of the baby during labor and delivery.
Women with certain medical conditions have a higher risk of having problems during pregnancy and, therefore, may need additional regular prenatal testing like ultrasounds. Examples include women with high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, multiple pregnancies (2 or more fetuses), too much or too little amniotic fluid, or post-term pregnancy.
Additional tests may be done if your healthcare provider thinks they are medically necessary. It may be done if your baby has a high risk of certain genetic issues or if you have had some complications in your pregnancy. Examples of additional tests include:
If you have high risk factors for pregnancy complications, you may have additional tests and procedures. Examples include:
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
March of Dimes
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
First-trimester screening for aneuploidy [committee opinion]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2004 July;296.
Group B strep (BGS). US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/about/prevention.html. Updated June 1, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Prenatal care. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/prenatalcare_visits.html. Updated May 2011. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Prenatal care and tests. Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/prenatal-care-tests.html. Updated September 27, 2010. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Prenatal and preconceptional carrier screening for genetic diseases in individuals of Eastern European Jewish descent [committee opinion]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2004;298.
Routine prenatal care. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 29, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Ultrasonography in pregnancy [practice bulletin]. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2004 Dec;58.
What to expect at your doctor's visit: 1st trimester. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyblog/2011/10/what-to-expect-at-your-doctors-visit-1st-trimester/. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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