Getting the most out of prenatal appointments

Do you ever feel like you wait in the waiting room for longer than your actual appointment? It is probably because you do… My appointments sometimes tend to feel like Wham.. BAM thank you Ma’am. Usually you check in at the front desk and wait for at least 15-20 minutes. Then you finally get called back and they ask you to pee in a cup the size of a shot glass. Really? I don’t know about ya’ll but I have a hard time aiming my pee these days. Plus, I can barely see where I am holding the cup! I usually get a splash in the cup and the rest on my hands and all over the cup. I always wipe it up because I feel bad for the nurse that has to dip the test strips in all the splattered urine cups of the pregos. Then comes the dreaded scale. I don’t know why I hate it so much because I weigh myself at home so I know how much I weigh, but I just hate it because it is always going up! Then you go to the room, they probably will do your blood pressure and then you wait again for your dr. or midwife. Sometimes this is quick and other times you are sitting there playing games on your phone for 20 minutes. Then they come in.. Ask if you are ok? Do you have any questions? Ok.. Let’s listen to the baby’s heartbeat, measure your belly.. Alright. See you in 4 weeks or 2 weeks (depending on how far along you are). You might think that coming this often is pointless, but believe it or not. A lot has just happened.

Urine TestingThey are looking for 2 things here. Sugar & Protein. The presence of protein in the urine can indicate preeclampsia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure) or a Urinary Tract Infection. The presence of sugar in the urine can be a sign of gestational diabetes or the start of gestational diabetes. Sometimes the presence of sugar can happen in pregnant women, but if it shows up twice they will likely send you for gestational diabetes testing earlier. This is the glucose screening test. This is when you have to fast for 12 hours, then drink the most disgustingly sugary drink you can imagine and have your blood drawn an hour later. This will monitor how your body processes sugar. Testing for gestational diabetes is important because it can cause a large baby that is at risk for birth injuries or a C-section. The baby is also at risk for health problems down the road.

Weight MonitoringWhy are they weighing you? This can also be an indicator of a serious problem. Sudden severe weight loss or gain can be a sign of a serious health condition in you or the baby. It can also be an indicator once again for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Low weight gain can indicate issues as well.

Belly MeasuringThis is called your fundal height. It should be (in cm) the same as how many weeks pregnant you are or + or – 2cm depending on the baby’s position. It can indicate whether the baby is growing enough or too much and if there is enough amniotic fluid. If they are concerned about your fundal height measurement they might send you for an ultrasound.

Fetal Heartbeat MonitoringThis is pretty self-explanatory. Clearly if the heartbeat is not within a normal range then there may be a problem.

Another way to get the most out of your appointments is to bring a list of questions or concerns. If you are having an issue or think something might be off now is the time to bring it up. You don’t want to get all the way to the parking lot and not bring up something that could be a serious issue. Most of the times my questions are nothing to be concerned about, but they usually can provide me with some advice. Now do you feel better about these appointments that seem like a waste of time? I hope it helped!

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