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If you’re a soon-to-be mom of multiples, you’re probably giddily exuberant, but also stressed. Preparing for not one baby, but two or even three can be hectic. You need how many clothes, diapers, and bottles?! That can’t be right.
Apart from gathering the necessary supplies and decorating the nursery, another thing you should be preparing for is your prenatal appointments. If you know you’re having multiples, you’ve been to at least one of these appointments before, and you’re bound to have a couple dozen more before delivering those bouncing bundles of joy.
But what actually happens at prenatal appointments? What are they checking for? What does all that weird-looking equipment do? If you’re interested in learning more about these essential appointments, here’s what to know about prenatal care appointments.
How Often Do I Need To Have One?
The frequency of these appointments varies depending on what stage you’re at in your pregnancy. If you’re in the first trimester, you only need to see your practitioner once a month. In the second trimester, you should schedule an appointment every other week, and during the third trimester, once a week. If your pregnancy is high-risk—as pregnancies with multiples often are—your practitioner may recommend scheduling these appointments more often.
What Happens During Them?
The next thing to know about prenatal care appointments is what happens during them. There’s a lot that goes on during prenatal appointments, but most of them are things that also happen at regular doctor appointments and that you’re more than likely used to by now.
During your first initial visit, your physician will do a complete check-up which includes a physical exam, blood, and urine test to make sure you’re healthy. This can also include a pelvic exam, Pap smear, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and screening for diabetes, anemia, etc.
Follow-up visits our practitioner will update your medical history by check your blood pressure, weigh you, take a urine sample, measure the growth of your belly, and inspect your skin for signs of swelling or irritation. They’ll also take the time to check up on the health of your babies using ultrasounds, fetal heartbeat monitors, and stethoscopes.
You also are able to have genetic testing should you decide to do so.
Some other testing you can expect are:
Overall you can expect to get a lot of testing done at these appointments, too. These tests are vital for determining your and your babies’ risk of developing certain conditions. Depending on your risk level, you might only undergo a handful of these exams, or, on the flip side, almost all of them.
Is It Different from Trimester to Trimester?
It sure is. Your first-trimester appointment is bound to be the longest. Your practitioner will want to know all the details of your medical history. They’ll also need to perform all sorts of examinations and tests. This appointment can be a long and grueling one, so prepare accordingly.
Your second trimester appointments will be a bit more leisurely. You’ll go through a few quick examinations and tests, and then it’s on to the more exciting stuff! The second trimester is when you get to learn the sex of your babies—unless you want that information to be kept secret until delivery, of course.
Your third-trimester appointments are when things get serious. Your practitioner will use all sorts of medical equipment and technology throughout the course of these appointments, but the third trimester is when the monitoring technology tends to get pulled out, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
Don’t be alarmed if they want to run last-minute tests or hook you up to a bunch of machines. It’s not necessarily an indicator of anything bad—just a precaution to make sure the rest of the pregnancy (and the delivery) goes smoothly.