Prenatal Visits: Your Mid-Pregnancy Checkup

by Shannon Bartlett

Your second trimester visit, around 20 weeks

20 weeksYou've hit the halfway point of your pregnancy at twenty weeks! Now to make it through the next twenty. What can you expect during the next couple of prenatal visits?

Most moms-to-be have an in-depth ultrasound around week 20. The technician will take a look at baby's organs and general growth patterns. You'll also be able to find out if you're having a boy or a girl at this time.

Between 23 and 26 weeks, you'll be offered a glucose tolerance screening. You might be able to do the screening at your doctor's or midwife's office or asked to schedule the test at a lab.

Action Item List

actions for your prenatal visitThis routine prenatal visit might seem like a waste of time, but it's not.

Your midwife or doctor uses the information gathered at each visit to spot potential problems and prevent complications. In fact, they might suggest extra appointments or tests depending on your age and potential complications.

This visit's a perfect time to discuss birthing options and sign up for childbirth classes.

Your Tasks

• Bring your list of questions. You've heard of pregnancy brain, where moms-to-be tend to become forgetful. Write down your questions and then bring the list to your appointment just in case it makes an appearance.

• Schedule your glucose tolerance screening. Ask for pre-test instructions. Depending on your clinic policies, you might need to skip breakfast and come right in for the test.

• Schedule your next prenatal visit. Unless you're experiencing complications, your next appointment will be in about four weeks. After that, you'll probably begin scheduling them every two weeks.

Appointment-Specific Checklist

• Measure fundal height: If it wasn't done last appointment, your provider will start a new measurement. The distance from the top of your uterus to your public bone matches the number of weeks you've been pregnant. Don't worry if your measurement is a little off. It's common for the fundal height to measure a little smaller or larger than expected.

• Talk about fetal movement: Most moms will feel their baby move between 18 and 23 weeks. Providers would like you to keep an eye on the kicks and let them know if you notice any large change.

Routine Visit Checklist

Weigh in: If you start pregnancy at a normal weight, experts suggest you gain a pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy. If you gain too little or too much, your provider will look for the cause and have you talk with a nutritionist.

• Screen urine: It's time to screen your pee again. Just like last time, it will be tested for protein, sugar and ketones. If you have too much of something, you may have a condition brewing.

• Check blood pressure: At each prenatal checkup your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure. If it's high, you'll be monitored closely. High blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia.

• Talk time: New pregnancy symptoms appear in the second trimester. You might be bothered by stuffy nose, getting comfortable enough to sleep or concerned about preterm labor. This is a good time to ask your midwife or doctor what's happening during the second trimester and how you can best be prepared.