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During your pregnancy, you’ll have regularly scheduled check-ups. Your check-ups are monthly until you reach week 28, and then you’ll have biweekly appointments. After week 36, you’ll see your doctor weekly until your delivery.

Your first visit includes an in-depth review of your medical history, a thorough pelvic exam, and routine blood work. At each visit, your provider checks your overall health, weight, and blood pressure, as well as your baby’s health, growth, and heart rate.

At various times throughout your pregnancy, you’ll undergo blood or urine tests. These are routine lab tests to check for common pregnancy-related problems such as gestational diabetes and diseases you could pass to your baby.

When Will I Have an Obstetric Ultrasound?

Your doctor can perform an ultrasound any time a concern arises about your baby’s development. Some patients have an early ultrasound to confirm they’re pregnant and to determine a due date.

The ultrasound that all expectant parents anticipate is performed in your second trimester, around 18-22 weeks. At this stage in your baby’s development, an ultrasound may reveal the gender, if your baby is in the right position.

The second-trimester ultrasound is also a routine part of your obstetric care. Your doctor uses this ultrasound to evaluate your baby’s anatomy and development.

What is a High Risk Pregnancy?

A high-risk pregnancy exists when the health of you or your baby is threatened. You may become a high-risk patient due to health problems that develop as your pregnancy progresses, or you could be at risk before you get pregnant due to existing health issues.

Some of the most common causes of a high-risk pregnancy include:

  • Mother aged 35 and older
  • Carrying multiple babies
  • Baby has birth defects
  • Prior cesarean section
  • Prior low-birth weight baby
  • Prior early delivery
  • Complications in a previous pregnancy

Mothers with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure are often considered to have a high-risk pregnancy.

Signs of Labor

How will you know when you’re going into labor, and know the difference between “false alarms” and “the real thing?” Especially for first-time mothers, it’s important to learn the telltale signs of when “the big moment” is probably near. The following signs indicate that you may be going into labor:

  • Five minutes or less between contractions that last 60 seconds or longer
  • Leakage of fluid
  • Decrease in fetal movement
  • Bleeding bright red
  • Tightening of your stomach that takes your breath away

If you believe you are going to labor:

  • In cases of life-threatening emergency, call 911.
  • Always call our office first, at 202-331-9293 before leaving for the hospital.

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