Obstetrician (OB) visits are an essential part of care during pregnancy. Your doctor will provide a schedule of visits for each stage (trimester) of your pregnancy to make sure everything is progressing as expected. Frequency of OB visits will depend on your health at the time of your pregnancy and any other issues that may develop in the subsequent months.
Scheduling Your First OB Visit
Schedule your first visit as soon as you know you’re expecting. As a general rule, it should be about eight weeks following your last menstrual period.
First Trimester OB Visits
During your very first visit, you’ll be asked about your medical history and general lifestyle to determine if there are any specific issues to take into consideration. Anything you share will be kept confidential, so be honest and upfront. Your first trimester visits will also include a check of your vital signs, as well as hemoglobin count and lab tests to screen for chromosome abnormalities and immunity to certain infections. You’ll also be told what to expect and what’s normal.
Second Trimester OB Visits
You should be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat by the time you start your second trimester (14-27 weeks) visits. Test results will be discussed and your general physical and emotional health is usually evaluated. This is also when you’ll be able to see more features and details on your ultrasound. Appointments are typically four weeks apart during the first few trimesters. Your weight will also be tracked to make sure you’re experiencing appropriate gains.
Third Trimester OB Visits
Third trimester (28 weeks through delivery) visits are usually every few weeks. After 36 weeks, you’ll likely be seen every week until delivery. Visits typically include physical exams, some later pregnancy testing, and discussions of any concerns or anxieties you may have about your upcoming birth.
When More Visits May Be Necessary
Some women develop preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy. If it’s detected, you’ll need to be monitored carefully as your pregnancy advances. A type of diabetes (gestational diabetes) sometimes occurs during pregnancy and will also require regular monitoring.
Additional OB visits may also be required if:
- You are 35 years of age or older
- You have preexisting health issues
- You have a history of premature labor
Preparing for OB Visits
Write down questions you may have or anything specific you want to discuss during your next appointment. For some tests, you may need to avoid eating or drinking anything the day of your visit. Otherwise, all you will need to do is keep your appointments until you have your baby.
Whether you’re fine with routine OB visits based on a standard schedule or need additional appointments to address health issues unique to your pregnancy, maintain steady communications with your doctor. Just because everything is progressing normally doesn’t mean there won’t be times when there will be a need to set up an appointment, even if it’s just for your own peace of mind.