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Routine Care During Pregnancy and What to Expect

Routine Care During Pregnancy and What to Expect

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, routine prenatal care can ensure you and your unborn child are safe and healthy.

Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Hany H Ahmed provides comprehensive pregnancy care before, during, and after delivery. Here’s what you need to know about prenatal care and what to expect from it throughout your pregnancy.

Your first prenatal care visit

You receive prenatal care from the time you become pregnant through the time you deliver.

Your first prenatal care visit is often the longest one. Dr. Ahmed discusses your medical history, including vaccinations and previous pregnancies, and asks about experiences that may impact the health of your pregnancy, including sexual trauma or troubles with the health care system.

The doctor also records information about your partner’s and both your families’ medical histories to identify potential genetic disorders.

Dr. Ahmed also gives you a complete physical exam, including blood and urine tests to ensure you’re healthy. That can include:

Blood tests determine if you have any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that could complicate pregnancy. They also determine your blood type and Rh factor and check for anemia.

Rh factor is a protein present in most people’s red blood cells. However, if you don’t have it and your baby does, your blood can attack the baby’s, causing problems much like those that occur when the wrong blood type is used in a transfusion. Treatment during pregnancy can prevent Rh disease.

Anemia occurs when you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body and the fetus. Iron supplementation can help correct anemia.

Blood pressure and urine tests help Dr. Ahmed diagnose preeclampsia, a serious type of high blood pressure that can happen during pregnancy. Too much protein in the urine indicates a problem. Urine tests can indicate a kidney or bladder infection or a condition like diabetes.

In addition, the doctor talks with you about your diet and lifestyle and especially about prenatal vitamins. The most important vitamin during pregnancy is folic acid, which ideally you start taking before you’re pregnant.

Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid a day reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus by 70%. Most prenatal vitamins contain that amount and other vitamins pregnant women and their developing fetuses need.

The frequency of your pregnancy care visits depends on whether your pregnancy is normal or high risk, as well as your weeks of gestation. For a normal pregnancy, you can expect:

Monthly visits up to week 28, bimonthly visits in weeks 29-35, and weekly visits from week 36 until you give birth.

Follow-up prenatal visits

During your follow-up prenatal care visits, Dr. Ahmed examines you to make sure your pregnancy is progressing well and that you and the fetus are healthy. He may:

At some point, the doctor performs an ultrasound to help him determine if the fetus is developing normally. He can estimate your due date, see the amount of amniotic fluid in your uterus (surrounds and protects the fetus), and determine if you’re having more than one child.

An ultrasound can also screen for birth defects, like Down syndrome.

If you’re concerned about a genetic or neurological disorder, Dr. Ahmed may perform an amniocentesis in weeks 15-20 to examine cells in the amniotic fluid. The results usually take a few weeks.

If you’d like to learn more about prenatal care and what to expect, contact Dr. Ahmed’s office in Houston, Texas. Call us to schedule an appointment, or book online with us today.

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