Pregnancy is an important time for any woman – especially when it comes to your health as well as the baby’s. There are a whole range of medical professionals that a pregnant woman may deal with during the 40 weeks of pregnancy, depending on how the pregnancy is going and her level of health cover. Keep reading to find out some of the people you will probably see during your pregnancy as well as what to expect from your doctor in each trimester.
Types of Pregnancies
Low Risk – Most pregnancies are considered low risk as long as the mother has a reasonably healthy medical history. For a low risk pregnancy you can expect to see doctors and other medical personnel as listed in the trimester guide.
High Risk – A high risk pregnancy is classified as one where the mother has any type of illness, multiple pregnancy, a history of medical problems, or a history of preterm births or miscarriages. In cases of a high risk pregnancy the mother will see medical professionals more often and also undergo more tests to monitor her health and the baby’s.
Doctor/GP – Your doctor may do most of your regular checkups which basically involve urine and blood pressure tests as well as checking your fundal height to make sure baby is growing at the correct rate.
Obstetrician – Depending on your healthcare fund or model of care, you may see an obstetrician during your pregnancy. Obstetricians are trained to help with pregnancy and birth, but generally they do not need to attend a birth unless there is a problem or complication.
Midwife – If you plan on a natural delivery, you will likely deal with either a private midwife (if you are willing to pay for one) or a hospital midwife. There may be a small team of midwives who work at the hospital so it can vary who will deliver your baby, based on hospital schedules.
Ultrasound Technician – Your doctor will probably send you for at least two ultrasounds during your pregnancy. This may be in your doctor/obstetrician’s office or be at a separate facility and simply involves putting some warm liquid on your stomach and running an ultrasound device over your uterus. If required before 8 weeks, you may require an internal ultrasound.
Blood Test Technician – To check whether you are in fact pregnant you will have an initial blood test. You may also have blood tests later in pregnancy if your doctor believes you may be suffering from any pregnancy related illnesses or symptoms.
First Trimester (1-14 Weeks):
During the first trimester you will generally receive one blood test and urine test to verify that you are in fact pregnant and check for any issues or deficiencies. You may also have your first hospital visit to let you know about general pregnancy health information, to sign up for classes and give you an idea of options during your pregnancy. You won’t need to see the doctor more than once a month for checkups at this stage. You’ll usually have an ultrasound between 9-12 weeks to check how the baby is developing and how the placenta is growing as well as give an approximate due date if you don’t know it.
Second Trimester (14-28 Weeks:
During the second trimester you will continue to see the doctor monthly but may undergo blood tests if the doctor is worried about your iron levels or anything else in the pregnancy. You may undergo regular urine tests to check for high protein levels in the urine which may indicate problems as well as have your blood pressure checked. You can expect another ultrasound between 16-20 weeks to check up on baby and also give you the chance to find out baby’s gender if you wish. Near the end of this trimester you will probably get a gestational diabetes test.
Third Trimester (24-42 Weeks):
From the start of this trimester you can expect the doctor to want to see you every two weeks. From 36 weeks you may find your visits continue on a weekly basis. Urine and blood pressure tests will continue at these visits but you shouldn’t need any other tests unless the doctor is worried about the pregnancy.
Postdate (40+ Weeks):
If baby isn’t born by the due date, you’ll probably see someone every few days to monitor the baby. However, unless there are problems, it’s unlikely you’ll need to have an induction before 42 weeks, which is considered overdue. Some mothers regularly go to between 42-44 weeks gestation before giving birth, so make sure you do your research before agreeing to an induction simply due to gestation.