Pregnancy is the perfect preparation for parenthood, in my opinion. Why you ask? Well, one day, you find out you are pregnant and you suddenly have a whole bunch of new things you need to remember to do to take care of yourself while you carry your babe inside! Don't eat this, do take that, find the right doctor, and most importantly visit that doctor for your regular needed checkups!
Upon finding out you are pregnant you should call your doctor's office to schedule your first appointment. That first appointment will typically be between 8 and 10 weeks of gestation. If your pregnancy is classified as high risk for any reason, then you will likely be seen earlier.
Depending on your doctor's office and the circumstances of your pregnancy, you might get an ultrasound at that appointment or they could just do a doppler heart check. You will also be given your due date at this appointment. Take some advice from a mama that went a week over her first due date...maybe, in your own mind, just tack a week onto that date for your sanity! After that first appointment, and for a normal healthy pregnancy, you will have the following schedule of appointments:
- Weeks 8 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month (you will have an anatomy ultrasound at 20 or 21 weeks)
- Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks
- Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week
After your first few appointments, you might be thinking that they are slightly worthless; going into the office to wait to be seen and then just getting a belly measurement and a quick doppler check. But, you are growing a pretty important thing inside of you and surely want to know if anything isn't checking out completely right, don't you?! Seeing you frequently (even though it seems like not a lot is being done) allows your doctor to notice if anything with your baby's growth or heart rate changes in the slightest bit.
Will this schedule ever differ? Yes, if you have certain pre-existing health concerns. Your doctor will determine what is necessary for you when you first visit them. Use your appointments as a countdown calendar and your pregnancy just might seem to go quicker. Hearing those strong fast heartbeats is as heartwarming as it can get!