Today, your doctor will check your progress, as well as your baby's, and offer a screening test. This means that you may get to see your tiny baby! Your doctor will also answer any pregnancy-related questions you may have. Your risk of miscarriage has dropped by now, so you may want to share your exciting pregnancy news with family and friends after this visit.
What You Can Expect:
Today your doctor will likely offer you a screening test to check for chromosome abnormalities. There are many different tests that does this. Your doctor can discuss the different ones and find one that is right for you. You also do not have to get any testing for this, it is up to you.
If you choose to test, you may have an ultrasound, and the doctor will measure the thickness of the back of your baby's neck. You'll also have a blood test. The results of these two tests help determine your baby's risk of Down syndrome and trisomy 18, an extra chromosome 18 that causes birth defects and mental retardation. Sometimes only a blood test is done. It can depend on what type of screening test you choose.
You may feel alarmed if you have an abnormal test, but remember that the result only means that there may be a problem. In most cases, the baby is healthy despite an abnormal test result. If the results of the test show an increase in risk, your doctor may suggest a more detailed ultrasound during your 20-week prenatal visit. Or they may recommend a diagnostic test like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). If your doctor recommends CVS, you'll need to have the procedure done soon, so talk with your doctor about when to schedule it.
Also during this visit, your doctor will:
- Check your weight and blood pressure.
- Check your baby's heart rate. This may be the first visit you'll be able to hear your baby's heartbeat.
- Ask you to leave a urine sample to check sugar and protein levels. High sugar may be a sign of gestational diabetes. High levels of protein may indicate a kidney or urinary tract infection. Later in your pregnancy, high protein levels can be a sign of preeclampsia.
Be Prepared to Discuss:
Your doctor will ask about your overall health, lifestyle habits, and stress levels, so they can understand the big picture as it affects your growing baby. Be prepared to talk about:
- Your diet and what changes you can make to get the right nutrition for your growing baby. This may include eating more vegetables, cutting back on junk food, and eating more high-fiber foods.
- Your sleep habits, including whether you nap and how long you usually sleep at night.
- Your weight and whether you're gaining too much or not enough.
- Your job, level of job stress, possible job-related exposure to toxic substances, and whether you do heavy lifting or are on your feet all day.
Ask Your Doctor:
Tap the Action button above to select questions to ask your doctor.
- Is now a good time to share my pregnancy news?
- My iron supplements cause constipation; what can I do?
- Should I sleep in a certain position?
- Should I call you if I have spotting or bleeding?