Prenatal tests and exams

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
During pregnancy, several visits to the doctor are necessary. At these appointments you may undergo several prenatal tests and exams. It's helpful to know what to expect at these exams. Your first visit will most likely take more time than the later appointments. The health care provider will ask you about your medical history. Your responses about other pregnancies, health problems, illnesses, including sexually transmitted diseases, and your lifestyle will help him or her decide the best care for you. The first physical exam will include both a pelvic and breast exam. The health care provider will also check your heart, lungs, eyes, ears, nose, and throat, and measure your weight and height. Your blood, urine and blood pressure will be tested, and the health care provider will take a culture of your cervix and a Pap smear to check for possible problems that might affect your pregnancy. At this first appointment, your health care provider should talk with you about a prenatal plan that fits your needs. This will include going over a schedule of doctor's visits, diet, exercise, and special considerations. With all of the changes that pregnancy brings to your body, regular visits to the doctor will help make sure that you and your baby stay healthy. At every visit, your health care provider will check your weight, blood pressure, and urine, and listen to your baby's heartbeat with you. Your health care provider may also suggest other tests, depending upon your family history, age, health, and racial or ethnic background. For more information about prenatal tests and exams, contact a health care professional.

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