Congratulations! You’re pregnancy test is positive. Great news! You book in to see your GP to have your pregnancy confirmed, and find out what to do next. Your doctor then presents you with a nine month calendar of antenatal appointments and you start to feel a little overwhelmed. You’ve only ever visited the doctor for a sore throat, and your regular pap smear. Then you start to wonder if you really need to go to all these doctor’s appointments. The short answer is yes.
You Need to Keep These Doctor’s Appointments
While it may seem a bit over the top to have so many doctor’s appointments for what is a completely natural state to be in. The truth of it is that all the appointments serve a purpose and you’ll be glad you showed up.
The purpose of all these appointments is to check on you and your baby. That’s a pretty important reason to keep the appointment. Your care-giver (whether it’s your GP, a midwife or an obstetrician) will monitor your baby’s growth and the state of your physical and emotional health.
The plan is to pick up any possible problems so they can be treated as early as possible. If there’s no problem, that’s great, you just show up next time. The thing about potential issues in pregnancy, they can be hard to detect if you’re not a medical professional, so it’s in your’s and your baby’s interests to keep the appointments.
It’s also an opportunity to talk about any worries, ask any questions or get help with any health concerns you may have. For example, your doctor can provide support to help you give up smoking, provide advice around any excess weight you may be carrying, or any other issues that you have that could impact your baby. They’ll also give you advice on any screening tests that you will be offered during your pregnancy.
How Many Appointments Will I Have?
Generally speaking, you will have eight to ten appointments with your care-giver, for a first baby. If it’s your second baby, and you had a healthy complication-free pregnancy the fist time around, you may have six to eight appointments. There may be more appointments to keep, depending on your health and if you have any complications that need special attention.
Taking a Support Person
If you’re a bit nervous about your appointments it’s a good idea to take a support person with you – your partner, a friend or family member. It’s also a good idea to take someone with you to your first screening scan. Having someone there will help if you can’t take in all the details of the appointment.
Once you get used to the idea that you’ll have regular appointments you’ll probably find that you look forward to each one, as it’s a chance to learn more about your baby and each appointment is a step closer to meeting them.
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