What Happens In A Prenatal Visit?

Posted on: 13 September 2021

If you are a pregnant woman, you have no doubt been looking forward to the time when you can actually meet your little baby and hold them in your arms. Fortunately, if you have a good doctor through your prenatal care, they can help your pregnancy to go as smoothly as possible. While every doctor is slightly different, most will want to check in with you at least monthly in your first two trimesters and then twice monthly in your third trimester. 

These visits are essential to having a healthy pregnancy and baby and may help you to have the peace of mind that everything is progressing normally. Most prenatal care visits will include the following elements, though every doctor is slightly different. 

Urine Sample

Most physicians will ask you to leave a urine sample right when you get to their office, which will be tested while you are waiting so that the doctor can see the results. Early in pregnancy, these urine samples are only checked for protein and ketones, which could indicate gestational diabetes or signs that your kidneys are not functioning properly, potentially indicating preeclampsia. 

Physical Exam

Once you enter the room, your physician will usually want to check your belly (starting at around 20 weeks) to make sure that your uterus is measuring correctly. Starting at 20 weeks, your uterus will usually measure the same distance from your pubic bone as you are in gestational weeks. For example, if you are 28 weeks, the top of your uterus to your pubic bone will be 28 centimeters. 


During some visits, you will get a full ultrasound to make sure that the baby is growing appropriately, such as the 20-week anatomy scan. Later in pregnancy, your doctor will simply measure the baby's heartbeat with a doppler to ensure that it is quick and regular. 

Discussion/Birth Plan

No prenatal visit is complete without a discussion of how you are doing and rechecking the plan for your pregnancy. Make sure to bring questions for your provider so that you can be at ease during your pregnancy. 

In conclusion, prenatal exams may seem extremely thorough to some, but they are a wonderful way to make sure that your little baby is growing the way they should. Later in your pregnancy, your prenatal exams may even include a nonstress test (NST) to make sure that your baby's heartbeat is where it should be. You can never be too prepared or cautious when a new baby is concerned.