Prenatal visits are an essential part of your health – and your baby’s – during the 40ish weeks you will spend together. While some things may seem unnecessary – measuring the belly, weighing in, etc. – each of your appointments is designed with you and your baby in mind.
Prenatal Visits Go Beyond the Clinical
From the clinical perspective, each one of your prenatal appointments is intentionally designed to assess exactly what’s going on in your body at that point, relative to the most common potential red flags that might arise during that week/trimester.
Beyond the clinical, each of your prenatal visits gives you a chance to develop a relationship, and deepen that relationship, with the team of people who will be there for you when you’re ready to deliver your baby. This bond is invaluable, helping you to feel safer and supported as you go through one of the most remarkable milestones of your life.
5 Reasons to Never Skip Prenatal Visits
These are five reasons you should never skip or ignore a prenatal appointment
1. Your baby’s health depends on it
Your baby is trusting you and your body to carry it safely through from conception to delivery. This depends on you making informed choices about what you eat, how much you exercise, the quality of your sleep, and your awareness of what is normal and what isn’t. Combine that with the measuring and imaging we provide to track baby’s development (who doesn’t want to listen to their own baby’s heartbeat?), and prenatal visits are often some of the most fun and exciting moments along the pregnancy journey.
2. We can identify smaller issues before they become larger ones
Your body goes through so many changes as the result of your pregnancy, and those changes start happening from the minute a fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining. From that point on, you’ll experience all kinds of symptoms and side effects, some of which may not feel normal – but are; and others may feel perfectly normal, but it turns out they’re not. Your prenatal visits are information lifelines to help you determine which is which.
Take vaginal spotting, for example. In the list of “what’s normal, and what’s not,” light vaginal spotting is usually considered normal. As many as 40% of women experience minimal vaginal bleeding during their first trimester. Yet, it can also mean serious action needs to be taken. The sooner you’ve visited your OB or midwife, the more comfortable you’ll be contacting them if/when you have questions – no matter how big or small – to get expert advice and solutions.
3. Timely testing provides critical information
Unless a pregnancy is considered high-risk, prenatal visits will follow a tried-and-true timeline. At first, you’ll only visit your OB or midwife once per month, then twice per month, and then every week – depending on how far along you are.
This timing is partially correlated with the tests that we offer at each of these stages to keep track of your baby’s development and his/her health.
Prenatal tests are divided into four general categories: routine, screening, diagnostic, and monitoring. The information we receive helps us to make better decisions about your pregnancy, labor and delivery plans, or to recommend treatments that might benefit everyone’s overall outcome.
We’ll also take urine samples and occasional blood tests to monitor your health, looking out for things like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia so we can create an immediate treatment plan. The earlier these issues are identified, the better. A single missed appointment means weeks or even a month or more of time you could have been feeling much better – and improving the health of yourself and your baby. And, that leads to the next reason you shouldn’t skip prenatal appointments….
4. We make your health a priority
Most mothers are so focused on their baby’s health, they can neglect their own well-being. At your prenatal visits, we make sure you are also a focus, checking in on how you’re eating, sleeping, and handling the range of pregnancy changes. We want to know about your mental and emotional health, and to ensure you have all of the resources you’ll need to feel your very best.
5. We have time to learn more about your birth plan
We’ll admit that not all births go as planned. That said, having a birth plan is an important part of preparing for labor and delivery and for the immediate postpartum period. A well-thought-out plan allows you and your OB or midwife to consider all of the potentials, so you and your partner will be better prepared for how you want to respond.
Read Things to Consider When Creating a Birth Plan for tips on what to think about.
Prenatal visits are a favorite part of our job here at Overlake. Give us a call at (425) 454-3366 or contact us online to work with obstetricians and midwives who are wholly committed to making your visits engaging and informative. We look forward to taking care of the both of you.