Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life — and throughout your journey, you’ll have the support of your providers at Geisinger through several prenatal visits. These frequent appointments are a time to learn more about your baby and ask questions.
Here’s what a typical schedule might look like:
- Weeks 4 to 28: Once a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: Every other week
- Week 36 until birth: Every week
The total number of appointments varies, but you can expect to have 10 to 15 prenatal visits during a complication-free pregnancy.
What to expect at prenatal appointments
Your prenatal visits will change as your pregnancy progresses. The first visit will be different than the rest as your provider establishes your baseline health. During the first visit, your provider will:
- Answer questions
- Check your urine for infection and confirm you’re pregnant
- Record your blood pressure, weight and height
- Review your family and medical history to discuss any known genetic conditions
- Discuss your lifestyle habits, including exercise, smoking, drinking and stress
- Give you a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam
- Give you a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer, chlamydia and gonorrhea
- Take blood to determine your blood count, blood type and Rh factor, as well as to screen for HIV, rubella, hepatitis B and syphilis
- Conduct an ultrasound, depending on the timing of your last menstrual cycle
- Discuss optional genetic tests
At prenatal visits later in your pregnancy, your provider will:
- Answer questions
- Check your blood pressure and track your weight gain
- Measure your growing belly
- Check your hands and feet for swelling
- Feel the position of the baby (during the final weeks of pregnancy)
- Conduct various tests, such as blood tests and ultrasounds
In addition, you will have various tests throughout your pregnancy, including for:
- Down syndrome or spina bifida between weeks 8 and 18
- Gestational diabetes between weeks 24 and 28
- Group B strep between weeks 32 and 36
- Other tests, depending on your family and medical history
Your provider will also discuss changes in your body that could occur before your next prenatal appointment, as well as red flags.
If at any time during your pregnancy you notice unexpected changes, you should reach out to your provider. Your Geisinger care team is there to answer questions and ease your concerns every step of the way.
Who to bring with you
Prenatal appointments can be exciting. You’ll get to hear your baby’s heartbeat and, during some appointments, see the baby on an ultrasound. You’ll also get to find out the sex of your baby — if you want to know.
During these appointments, you may wish to bring along your partner (and children, if you have any) so that you can share in the excitement together. However, note that your first appointment may last one to two hours, so if needed, you may want to arrange for childcare during that appointment. Subsequent appointments will be much shorter.
While the number of prenatal appointments might seem arduous or unnecessary, scheduling each one at your provider’s recommendation is the best way to ensure you have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Since your first appointment is extensive, it’s best to call your provider to schedule it. They’ll work with you to ensure there is plenty of time for your full exam and for answering all of your questions.
Your follow-up appointments can be scheduled at the end of a visit or online through Geisinger’s myDocFinder or myGeisinger.