Prenatal care should start as soon as you know you are pregnant. Routine prenatal visits are done to prevent complications. Sometimes problems can occur in your pregnancy and you may be totally unaware of them. By going to the obstetrician, problems can be diagnosed sooner, and further complications avoided. A normal pregnancy is actually 40 weeks long. The first prenatal visits are 4 weeks apart.
At the first prenatal visit routine blood work, a urine culture, and complete history are obtained, and prenatal vitamin samples are given. At the next, a full physical and routine cultures of the cervix are performed. A Pap smear is sometimes performed at this time. An ultrasound is performed to confirm your due date. After 9 weeks of pregnancy Dr. Pagette will offer genetic testing of the baby, which can now be performed by a blood test. This blood test can look for a high risk of Down's Syndrome, Trisomies 13 and 18, Turner's Syndrome, and DiGeorge Syndrome. It is 99% accurate. If all has been uncomplicated, an ultrasound is performed at 18 weeks of gestation by Dr. Pagette for a survey of your baby's anatomy. She may be able to determine the sex at that time. At approximately 26 weeks of pregnancy a one hour glucose screen is performed for gestational diabetes along with your visit. After that visit, the visits will be every 2 weeks until 35 or 36 weeks. Also, Dr. Pagette will perform a second ultrasound for growth of your baby at approximately 32 weeks of pregnancy. Other ultrasounds will be performed at other times for circumstances, such as verification of position of your baby. At 35 or 36 weeks a culture for Group B Streptococcus will be done along with any other cultures needed at that time. Also blood work will be repeated in the third trimester of the pregnancy in keeping with the recommendations of the State of Texas. Dr. Pagette will also examine your cervix to see if it is dilated. Then the visits will be every week until your delivery. If your cervix starts to dilate, an elective induction can be performed at 39 weeks or later.
Most pregnancies are uncomplicated, but if complications arise, Dr. Pagette will do regular testing to assure the health of yourself and your baby. For example, if a pregnancy is complicated by diabetes mellitus, twins, gestational diabetes, hypertension, or preterm labor, or if you have had a previous stillbirth, nonstress tests will be performed in the office on a regular basis. Sometimes one or more biophysical profiles are performed in the office if the pregnancy is complicated and a nonstress test shows that your baby is not reactive. A nonstress test is a monitoring of the baby's heart beat, like an EKG, which helps to determine the baby's well being. A biophysical profile is a special ultrasound to assure your baby's well being.