Pregnancy is always a cause of concern from the beginning, even if everything seems to be alright. You’ve got to be on your toes all the time and make sure you do not ignore even the smallest of things, no matter how trivial they seem to you. Routine or antenatal check ups, as they are popularly called, during pregnancy is a must, as they can help diagnose problems that might prove to be hazardous both for the baby and you. Hence, they must not be overlooked at any cost.
Now, knowing how crucial antenatal check ups are during pregnancy, you must also know when exactly to be alarmed enough to go for one. Also, though there might be several kinds of check ups, we bring to you the 8 most frequent and basic check-ups you will need to go for during pregnancy.
1. General physical antenatal check up
Your first trimester is the initial phase of your pregnancy and hence, the doctor might want to understand your body a little better by asking you about your medical history. He or she will also enquire about your last menstrual cycle, diet, usual sleep pattern and so on to track your body type and its aversions and acceptances to various complications.
2. Check up for vaginal bleeding
In case you notice any vaginal bleeding, it indicates you might have had a miscarriage or it is a case of ectopic pregnancy, which means your egg is fertilized and has located itself somewhere else (mostly in the fallopian tube) instead of the uterus.
Go for a check up the moment you see this happen.
3. Check up for preeclampsia
In case you notice your blood pressure to be higher than the usual along with swelling at different areas of your body, you must visit your doctor. Chances are that he or she may ask you to take a urine test to see if it’s a case preeclampsia.
Now, if you don’t know what preeclampsia is, it is a common condition among pregnant women, where they have extremely high blood pressure. Your urine contains excess proteins and it can lead to serious problems post pregnancy. Hence, we suggest you call your gynecologist the moment you feel any abnormality in your blood pressure.
4. Check up for edema
Edema is frequently found among expecting mothers. It is the swelling of your body parts such as the face, legs, ankles and hands. It must come into your gynaecologist’s notice, as it is the only way to further diagnose severe problems such as eclampsia or even diabetes.
Women who are diagnosed with eclampsia may have a series of seizures almost around the 20th week post delivery. This is due to abnormally high blood pressure. These seizures can send you into a coma or even be fatal.
We request you not take edema lightly and visit the doctor even if the swelling is mild.
An ultrasound is a basic examination of how your baby is doing inside the uterus. Undertaken usually during the second trimester (around the 20th week), it is done to check the baby’s heartbeat, positioning inside the uterus and physical growth. It also helps decide your due date or whether you may have a miscarriage. Basically, it tells you all about what’s happening in your womb and how likely you are to have a safe or unsafe pregnancy.
It could be transabdominal, where the check up is done using a transducer on your belly, or transvaginal, where they insert the transducer through your vagina to check the status of your uterus.
We suggest you have all your ultrasounds on time and do not miss the succeeding sessions to keep a track on your baby and their development.
6. Check up for gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is found to be the case in a lot of women, especially during the second trimester, when your placenta starts blocking insulin from doing it’s job, which is to regulate your sugar levels and keep up with the pace of sugar conversion into the energy you use.
You may experience a sudden uncontrollable urge to pee or drink a lot of water. This would mean there is an abnormality in your insulin levels. It can be further aggravated in case you are heavy or have excess belly fat.
In case you experience any of the above symptoms, go for a urine or blood test (as the doctor prescribes) and have it controlled as soon as possible. Gestational diabetes can affect both you and your baby’s health, and you don’t want to take this risk.
7. Check up for fundal height
Fundal height is the distance between your pelvis and the top of your uterus. It helps you identify the length of your pregnancy and hence, your due date. Have a word with your gynaecologist around the end of the second trimester and see if it’s time for you to go for one.
8. Check up for a yeast infection
In case you face any of these - vaginal discharge (you may experience a white cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge), redness and irritation - around the vaginal area or soreness that may cause itching and pain during urination or sex, chances are you have a yeast infection for which you’ll have to go for a check up without fail.
It may also be a severe problem like cancer or diabetes causing it in extreme cases and hence, a check up is a must for a yeast infection.