Prenatal appointments begin with a blood pressure measurement and, usually, a urine test to look for signs of infection and other factors that could signal a serious issue. Weight will also be recorded. Patients will be asked about any symptoms they may be experiencing, and depending on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, her belly may also be measured and the baby's heartbeat may be evaluated. Mothers-to-be will receive guidance about what to expect during the next few weeks of the pregnancy, as well as information about prenatal vitamins and other advice aimed at helping the mother and the baby enjoy optimal health. Blood tests or ultrasounds may also be performed.
Prenatal appointments are usually conducted every month for the first 28 weeks, increasing to every other week until week 36 when visits will occur weekly until delivery. Women who have high-risk pregnancies may need to be seen more frequently. Prenatal visits are essential for ensuring women and their babies remain as healthy as possible throughout pregnancy, and it's very important not to skip an appointment.
A high-risk pregnancy is one in which the health and well-being of the mother or baby (or both) are at risk either during pregnancy or delivery. High-risk pregnancies can occur for different reasons, such as:
Prenatal vitamins can play an important role in ensuring the developing baby gets the nutrients it needs for proper growth and development. However, vitamins should only be taken on the recommendation of the obstetrician, and no supplements or vitamins should be taken without discussing them first with the obstetrician.
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