Pregnancy is an exciting time in life, but it comes with questions and occasionally discomfort. Find the answers and support you need to have the best pregnancy possible at Women's Health Consulting IL, LLC in The Loop in Chicago. Wendy Goodall McDonald, MD, and the team are affiliated with Northwestern Hospital and delivers babies at Prentice Women’s Hospital, where you have access to world-renowned medical care. Get started with prenatal care at Women’s Health Consulting IL by calling or scheduling a visit online now.
In most cases, your doctor recommends beginning prenatal care at the eighth week of pregnancy. You should begin taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding alcohol, and stopping smoking before becoming pregnant or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
At your first prenatal visit, your doctor reviews your current health status and medical history in addition to asking about your last menstrual period in order to determine how far along your pregnancy is. Your doctor may also collect a sample of your blood to check your hormone levels or perform an ultrasound to estimate your due date.
It’s a good idea to ask questions at this appointment as you get to know your doctor and find out the steps you can take to have a healthy pregnancy, like eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, getting regular exercise, and resting as much as you can.
During your first and future prenatal visits, you have a series of health screenings at each visit. Your doctor always checks your weight and blood pressure and asks about any symptoms you’re experiencing, like nausea, fatigue, or increased hunger.
Additional screenings are performed at specific points during your pregnancy. Some of these screenings are simple blood tests, while others are more invasive and involve taking a sample of amniotic fluid, for instance. Not all screening tests are required, though your doctor can recommend specific tests based on your medical history.
Some common prenatal medical screenings include:
Genetic testing is available as well to determine if you’re a carrier for certain conditions, like bleeding disorders or Tay-Sachs disease.
After your first prenatal visit around eight weeks, you can expect to make visits every month until you reach 32 weeks. After 32 weeks, you have visits every two weeks until week 36. Then you have weekly visits until you give birth.
You might need more frequent visits if you have a high-risk pregnancy caused by diabetes, being pregnant with twins or triplets, or another medical condition.
For the best prenatal care for yourself and your baby, schedule a visit at Women’s Health Consulting IL today by calling or using the online booking tool.