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What to Expect During Your Prenatal Care

Regular checkups during pregnancy play a vital role in having a pregnancy that’s as healthy as possible. Getting early and regular prenatal care supports the health of both mother and baby, and this care can even begin before pregnancy.

That’s why our team of obstetrics specialists at Capital Women’s Care in Arlington, Virginia, provides personalized, prenatal care to ensure that you have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Individualized care

You are a unique woman, and that makes your pregnancy different from any other, as many factors influence your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Our goal is to provide guidance and care to keep you and your baby healthy and prevent complications.

Evaluating risk factors enables your provider to get ahead of potential issues. If you’re found to be at risk for certain complications, your provider takes extra care to monitor and treat you so that you stay as healthy as possible.

Importance of prenatal visits

Prenatal care is vital to your pregnancy. During each regular check-up with your obstetrics provider you can expect to have a physical exam, a weight check, and relevant blood, urine, and imaging tests to monitor you and your baby.

These prenatal visits enable your provider to detect abnormalities and act quickly to keep both mother and growing baby safe. For the first 28 weeks you can expect to visit us once a month. Toward the end of your pregnancy you can expect to see us more frequently, typically, every 2 weeks until the 36th week and then every week until your baby is born.

If you have a pre-existing condition or are at risk for complications, your doctor may recommend that you come in for checkups more frequently.

Prenatal visits are a good time to ask questions about your pregnancy and birth of your baby. The first prenatal visit is usually the longest. In addition to performing exams, your doctor may also talk to you about your diet and lifestyle.

What if I have a high-risk pregnancy?

What you can expect from prenatal care varies widely. Some women are at greater risk for complications and require special care. While the term “high-risk pregnancy” may sound scary, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to have complications.

Having a high-risk pregnancy means that an existing condition (or one that develops while you’re pregnant) increases your risk for pregnancy complications. Pre-existing conditions that elevate your risk for complications include:

Sometimes conditions develop during an otherwise healthy pregnancy. Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and gestational diabetes are two of the most common health conditions that occur during pregnancy.

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you can expect to receive special monitoring and care. For instance, if you’re diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, your provider will carefully monitor your blood pressure and may prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure if it’s dangerously high.

A consistent blood pressure reading above 140/90 is abnormal and poses risks during pregnancy. Chronic high blood pressure can restrict the growth of the fetus, and puts you at risk for a stroke. 

Pregnancy is an exciting time that can come with some unexpected challenges. Developing a strong collaborative partnership with your OB/GYN and attending regular prenatal visits is one of the best ways to ensure things go smoothly. 

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, schedule a visit with one of our obstetrics specialists: Dr. Andrea Williams, Dr. Sandra Caskie, Dr. Michele Berkeley, Dr. Alexis Light, or nurse midwife Gaither Smith. Call our office to schedule an appointment or book it online.

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