How often should a Pregnant Woman have Check-ups and Scans?

6 January, 2019

Getting pregnant is one of the best news that pregnant couples look forward to. However, it’s also the time when the expecting mother needs to be monitored very carefully for the upcoming nine months, sprinkled with regular antenatal check-ups. It’s a difficult time for the expectant mother too as her body undergoes numerous changes.

For first-time mothers, about 10 antenatal visits are usually recommended with subsequent pregnancies needing around 8 visits – provided there are no issues. The first three visits would require scans, blood tests, urine tests, aside from the history taking for overall wellbeing.

Your first consultation should be after you have finished jubilating with joy over being pregnant and sharing the good news with all your loved ones. The next person to share the news with is your doctor so that the necessary tests and scans can be setup for your first antenatal visit. The first checkup is usually the longest as the expectant mother will have a number of questions to ask her doctor. This is also the time when your due date will be calculated, so that you can start the process of planning for your baby’s arrival!

The expectant mother is checked for her height, weight, blood group, rhesus status, hemoglobin as well as Rubella and German measles status. The urine is checked for albumin, sugar or any infection. In case there is a family history, you can request for some additional tests on your baby for anomalies like spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, sickle cell or thalassemia, etc.

After the first long antenatal visit, you will need to go for regular visits at intervals of 4-6 weeks until the last month of pregnancy when you will have to visit every week or so; but it varies from person to person.

Your second visit will be between 8-12 weeks when the baby’s development will be checked via a scan as well as the mothers overall health. Remember pregnancy is not a state of disease, but a sign of well-being!

The 16nth weeks’ visit can let the doctor know the gender of the baby; however it’s illegal in India. The usual vitals including BP, weight, urine will be repeated. You could ask about starting antenatal classes.

At 18-20 weeks, you can scan for any anomalies, if present, as well as position of placenta and cervix.
At week 28, your abdomen is nicely rounded out and your doctor will repeat blood tests to check if everything is going well.

At the 34th week, another normal checkup is scheduled to check yours and the baby’s wellbeing.

At week 36, the checkup will include a scan too; the positioning of the baby will be checked, whether facing downwards or in breech position. You might have to undergo ‘External Cephalic Version’ to reposition the baby if it’s in breech position. Your BP remaining normal during this stage is important.

Your 38-week visit will be your last routine checkup before the big event. Your doctor will advise you to keep your hospital bag packed as time is almost up and weekly visits are recommended.