Prenatal Visits: Preventing Second Trimester Complications

by Shannon Bartlett

Your second trimester visit, around 24 weeks

Prenatal VisitYou're well into the second half of your pregnancy now! Have those baby kicks gotten a bit stronger and your tummy become a bit more obvious?

At 24 weeks, your baby is considered viable. If born now, with intensive care, your little one has a 50 percent chance of living. Each week longer in the womb helps newborns adjust to "life on the outside." By 35 to 37 weeks, most babies do fine, although they might have long-term health problems or risks. A baby who is born after 39 weeks and before 42 weeks is optimal.

Your prenatal appointments help your midwife or doctor spot any problems that might lead to an earlier birth.

Action Item List

actions for your prenatal visitThis will more than likely be your last monthly visit. Beginning at about 26 weeks, most women begin seeing their doctor or midwife every other week instead of every month.

One of the benefits of weekly appointments is that you'll get to hear your baby's heart thumping and your midwife or doctor might feel a tiny kick more often!

Your Tasks

• Bring your list of questions. As your baby and bump grow, your list of questions could lengthen as well. Write them all down and bring along to your appointment.

• It's time to schedule your glucose tolerance screening, if you're at risk and haven't already done it.

• Schedule your next prenatal visit. You'll probably start seeing your provider every two weeks from this point onward.

Appointment-Specific Checklist

• Discuss results from glucose tolerance screen: If your result indicate possible gestational diabetes, you'll have follow-up tests and a visit with a nutritionist. If you're like most moms-to-be, a healthy diet and exercise can keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Routine Visit Checklist

Weigh in: Good news, especially since your appetite has probably returned! If you started pregnancy at a normal weight, you're expected to gain a pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy.

• Screen urine: Pee in a cup time, again. It will be checked for sugar, protein, urinary tract infections or other complications.

• Check blood pressure: Take a breath and relax. Monitoring blood pressure gives your caregiver a heads-up on conditions like preeclampsia.

• Fundal height: The distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus roughly matches the number of week of pregnancy. If your measurement is a bit smaller or larger than expected, don't worry. Even the baby's position can affect fundal height.

• Talk time: You'll review nutrition, health and discuss emotional or social problems that might have cropped up, as well as new pregnancy symptoms that have appeared in the second trimester.

Questions to Ask

Common questionsYour biggest concerns might be getting some sleep, your aching back or more sensitive issues such as hemorrhoids. Our members asked about easing their discomforts.

Other moms worry about common pregnancy complications. This appointment could be a good time to talk about gestational diabetes and preterm labor. Here are a few question to get you started: