Later prenatal checkups

It’s important to keep seeing your health care provider during pregnancy. Regular prenatal care can help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

What is your prenatal care schedule?

If your pregnancy is healthy, you may be able to follow a schedule like this:

If you have a health problem during pregnancy, your provider may want to see you more often. Make sure you go to all of your prenatal care checkups even if you’re feeling fine.

What happens at your prenatal care checkups?

Your first prenatal care checkup is usually the longest because your provider asks you lots of questions and does several tests. Later prenatal care checkups may be much shorter.

At later prenatal checkups, your provider:

  • Checks your weight.
  • Takes your blood pressure.
  • Measures your belly to see how your baby is growing (second and third trimesters).
  • Checks your hands, feet and face for swelling.
  • Listens for the baby's heartbeat (after the 12th week of pregnancy).
  • Feels your belly to find your baby's position (later in pregnancy).
  • Does tests, such as blood tests or ultrasound.
  • Talks to you about your questions or concerns. It's a good idea to write down your questions and bring them with you so you don't forget what to ask!

During your first prenatal checkup, your provider talked to you about your family health history. As you continue your prenatal checkups, keep learning more about it.

If you find something new, or have a question for your health provider, write it down. You can talk to your health provider at your next visit.

Also, go to all your prenatal checkups, even if you’re feeling fine!

Who else knows about your health information?

Your health care provider may have you answer health questions to find out about your health history and the health of your family members related to you by blood. She may have you answer these questions using a paper form or a computer while you’re in the waiting room.

It can be hard sharing such personal information, like if you had a sexually transmitted infection or if you use drugs. Know that the answers you give help your provider give you and your baby the best care.

All of the health information you share is private and safe. It doesn’t matter if the information comes from your prenatal tests, is written down in a paper form, gets added into a computer or is shared during a talk you have with your provider. Only your health care team knows your health information.

So, don’t be afraid to give honest answers or share your concerns with your provider. She can’t tell anyone else what you say without your permission.

How can you get free or low-cost prenatal care?

If you don't have insurance or can't afford prenatal care, find out about free or low-cost services in your area:

  • Call (800) 311-BABY (800-311-2229). This toll-free number connects you to your local health department.
  • For information in Spanish, call 800-504-7081.  

See also:
Levels of medical care during pregnancy 

Last reviewed: May, 2011