Prenatal appointments are fun 🙂 Your midwife does a physical examination, and takes time to talk with you and listen to your questions and concerns. She also offers advice, nutritional counseling, and may do some routine checks to record in your prenatal chart.
It’s normal to have urine dip at each appointment. This tests for numerous things, including glucose (sugar) and protein in your urine. Some midwives have you do your own urine dip, and others do it for you after you’ve collected a urine sample in a cup.
Most midwives track weight to keep a record in your chart. Again, she may have you weigh yourself or she may do it. Some midwives don’t do routine weight checks at the prenatal appointment – they only weigh you if there seems to be a problem.
Your midwife checks blood pressure and your pulse. She’ll probably feel your ankles to see if you have any swelling (this is important to monitor as a warning sign for pre-eclampsia).
Fundal height at prenatal appointments after 20 weeks or so. This is the height from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus.
Then your midwife palpates your abdomen to feel the baby’s position. She listens to your baby’s heartbeat and placenta. At first this is done with a Doppler machine (if you decide that’s okay with you), but by mid-pregnancy she can use a fetascope – a special stethoscope designed to listen to babies in utero. If you prefer your midwife not use a Doppler at your prenatal appointment just let her know.
Your spend a good part of your appointment simply talking. Your midwife may have a checklist of questions she asks you at each appointment. Use this time to ask questions or voice any concerns.
Diet is an important part of your personal care and your midwife should ask about it, and ask if you’re having trouble eating well. She asks about any physical symptoms you may have been having such as nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. She’ll also ask you if you have had any spotting or bleeding – my midwife always asked this and then said “I’m sure I’d have heard from you if you had!”
Talking with your midwife is the longest portion of your prenatal appointment. Your midwife is concerned about you physically and emotionally. Let her know anything on your mind, any frustrations or fears you may be having – anything! Your midwife can give you suggestions on situations you are having at work or with family. Your appointments are your time, ask for what you need!