Courtesy of Doctor Thomas Shieh, MD Ob/Gyn, for more information go to ShiehClinic.com
If you are pregnant it is very important to get regular prenatal care. It can increase your chances of having a healthy baby. You should make an appointment with an obstetrician as soon as you know that you are pregnant. Feel free to ask your doctor any questions you may have at each visit. If you have problems or additional questions, call your doctor. If you are a patient of Dr. Shieh, you can call him on his pager anytime.
Prenatal vitamins are essential. The miracle vitamin is folic acid. Women should be taking 0.4 milligrams a day of folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects. As time progresses, it seems that researchers are finding more benefits this vital vitamin provides. For women with a history of neural tube (spine or skull) defects, she should be taking 4 milligrams per day. Your doctor can tell you more about the importance of taking prenatal vitamins. Also, during your first prenatal visit, you will be asked a series of questions and be given a physical exam, prenatal labs, and usually an ultrasound to estimate your baby's due date.
The due date is called the estimated date of confinement or delivery. This is usually determined by ultrasound or by the last menstrual period. The average pregnancy is 40 weeks or 280 days, from the first day of the last menstrual period. Most women give birth within 14 days of their due date. This date is very important in assisting the doctor with the proper test, and assurance of fetal growth. You should know your due date when you are pregnant. (Check out the Due Date Calculator)
Your prenatal visits are usually scheduled every 4 weeks up to 28 weeks, then every 2 weeks up to 36 weeks, then every week until you deliver, unless complications develop such as diabetes, bleeding, high blood pressure, fetal growth problems and among others which your doctor will discuss with you. There are special tests, such as the Triple Screen, and 1 Hr Glucola. The triple screen is done at approximately 15-18 weeks, which assist the doctor in determining your risk of having a baby with Down's Syndrome or other birth defects. The one hour glucola is usually done between 24-28 weeks to determine if you have gestational diabetes. This test can be done earlier if you have risk factors. Your doctor can tell you more.