Doctor Visits & Tests during Pregnancy

Regular prenatal examinations are a priority during any pregnancy. Here's how often you can expect to visit your doctor during a low-risk, term pregnancy:

  • After 1st appointment, every 4 weeks until 30 weeks
  • After 30 weeks, every 2 weeks until 35 weeks
  • After 35 weeks, once a week until delivery

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, develop complications, or are a teen, you may require more frequent visits.

Schedule of Prenatal Visits & Routine Tests

Weeks 6–8   Week 32
  • Confirm pegnancy
  • Lab tests
  • First visit with provider
  • Genetic testing options
  • Educational and diet information
  • Physical exam
  • Discuss cord blood banking
  • Discuss breastfeeding
Week 34
  • Optional visit per provider and patient
Week 36
  • Group B Strep Test
  • Confirm baby's position
  • Discuss signs and syptoms of labor and pre-eclampsia
Week 10–12  
  • Fetal heart tone
  • Confirm genetic testing decision
  • Reviw lab results
  • Influenza vaccine (Nov. 1–Mar. 31)
  • Due date confirmation
Week 37
  • Optional visit per provider and patient
Week 38
  • Discuss readiness for labor and delivery
Week 15–16   Week 39
  • Blood-screening tests
  • Schedule ultrasound
  • Optional visit per provider and patient
Week 40–41
Week 20  
  • Discuss post-date plan
  • Schedule postpartum visit
  • Discuss ultrasound results
Week 24   After delivery: 4–6 weeks
  • Schedule childbirth class
  • Routine postpartum visit
  • Physical exam
  • Discuss birth control, feeding, signs of depression, and return to work
Week 28  
  • Learn to count fetal kicks
  • Diabetes and blood count test, RhoGAM if RH Negative
  • Schedule hospital tour
  • Tdap/Td vaccination
  • Hospital registration

Tests During Pregnancy

10–20 weeks

Genetic Screening

A woman’s risk of having a child with a genetic abnormality is assessed with genetic testing. During pregnancy, your provider will assist in choosing the options that make the most sense for you and your family. Ultimately, the decision of what genetic tests to perform, if any, is up to you. All of the information pertaining to genetic testing comes from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists FAQs.

There are 3 different types of prenatal tests to address concerns about birth defects: Carrier tests, Screening tests and Diagnostic tests:

  • Carrier Tests
    These screening tests can show if a person carries a gene for an inherited disorder. An inherited disorder is caused by defective genes. These disorders are passed down by parents to their children. Some inherited disorders are more common in certain races and ethnic groups, such as sickle cell disease (African American), cystic fibrosis (non-Hispanic white) and Tay-Sachs disease (Ashkenazi Jewish, Cajun and French Canadian). Carrier tests can be done before or during pregnancy. Cystic fibrosis carrier screening is offered to all women of reproductive age because it is one of the most common genetic disorders.
  • Screening Tests
    These tests assess the risk that a baby will have down syndrome and other chromosomal problems, such as trisomy 13, tTrisomy 18 and neural tube defects. Screening tests show only whether you are at high risk or low risk of having a baby with a particular disorder. These tests do not tell whether the fetus actually has a disorder.
  • Diagnostic Tests
    These tests provide information about whether the fetus has a genetic condition and are done on cells obtained through amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, or rarely, fetal blood sampling. The cells can be analyzed using different techniques.

Fetal movement (self-test)

Sometime between 16 and 25 weeks of pregnancy, mothers will begin to feel movement. Initially, movements will be infrequent and may feel like butterfly flutters. As your baby grows, you will feel movement more often. It is recommended to start counting fetal movements beginning at 28 weeks once daily until you get 10 movements within 2 hours. A good time to do this is 20–30 minutes after breakfast or dinner. If you are concerned about movement, eat or drink something with sugar or caffeine and then, lie on your side in a quiet room with your hands pressed on your belly. If you have concerns about feeling movements or notice a decrease in movements, contact your doctor's office.

20–21 weeks

One-hour glucose test

You will take a blood sugar test during their sixth month of pregnancy to screen for gestational diabetes. This test requires one hour to be spent in the lab.

Complete blood count

Your blood will also be evaluated for possible anemia at the time of your glucose screening. If your levels are low, we will start you on iron supplements. This is a common condition in pregnancy and if you take the iron as directed, there should be no long term effects.

Expectant mother with heart over stomach

28–35 weeks

Rh Immunoglobulin injection (if Rh negative)

Your blood will be tested for its Rh factor. If your blood type is Rh negative, then you may be at risk for Rh disease. Rh disease is a pregnancy complication where your immune system attacks the baby’s blood and can result in a life threatening situation for your baby if left untreated. Fortunately, it can be prevented with an injection called Rhogam, which is given at 28 weeks or anytime vaginal bleeding occurs. If you are Rh negative, contact your doctor immediately if you develop bleeding or trauma to your belly.

Expectant mother’s vaccinations

Tdap is a vaccine that helps to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) disease in people who are 11–64 years of age. The tdap vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women in their 3rd trimester regardless of their last previous vaccine. This is to protect the baby from whooping cough in its first few months until the baby can get its own vaccine. While not usually serious in adults, whooping cough can be fatal to newborn babies. Vaccines given to the mom prior to the third trimester have been shown not to give adequate protection to the baby. Other family members and caregivers should be current in their vaccine (it is due every 10 years for non-pregnant adults).

Influenza immunization during pregnancy: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that women pregnant during the flu season receive the flu vaccine. All women should receive the influenza vaccine; this is particularly important during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The influenza vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and mortality due to influenza. In addition, maternal vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect newborns because the vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than 6 months. Only the inactivated influenza vaccine is recommended during pregnancy.

35–36 weeks

Group B strep vaginal culture

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. This bacterium is normally found in about 25% of all healthy adult women. Those women who test positive for GBS are said to be colonized. A mother can pass GBS to her baby during delivery. GBS is responsible for affecting about one in every 2,000 babies in the United States. Not every baby who is born to a mother who tests positive for GBS will become ill.

Last Updated on: 10/02/2023 by Diane Paradise