Early pregnancy visits

By Dr. Amaya Carreras Ugarte, Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology

Pregnancy is a blessing and dream of many ladies since their childhood. Significant physiological changes happen in the female body while a baby is growing in their uterus.

After the conception, no menses happen and the gestational age is calculated depending on the first day of the last menstrual cycle, providing it is a regular cycle.

If not, an ultrasound between 8 and 12 weeks is important to calculate the gestational age. Feeling nauseous and even vomitting is common in the first trimester as a response to the high levels of hormones, usually from 6th untill 16th week, but it is risky to lose weight and be dehydrated.

Many pregnant ladies also describe changes in food they prefer and smells they are irritated by. Some will produce more saliva, or notice dark spots on their skin.

During pregnancy weight should increase, from 12 to 15 kgs, depending on the prenatal weight and no diet to decrease weight should be advised during pregnancy. Some types of diets may be recommended during pregnancies in special cases, such as diabetes, hypertension, renal diseases etc. A visit to the doctor in early pregnancy is important to get a clear medical history and set up a schedule of visits for the future, depending on whether your pregnancy is low or high risk.

During early pregnancy visits it is important to check the pregnancy location and confirm it is inside the uterus, check viability and heartbeat, and also see if it is singleton or multiple pregnancy. Early visits are also important to perform some blood tests, to check for anemia, diabetes,or any other indicated test and start on some vitamins or ther medications if needed.

Spotting or bleeding in the early pregnancy is a red flag that needs an immediate checkup. It can be a result ofimplantation when the future placenta cells are breaking and invading the arteries inside the uterus which causes a bit of spotting. But in some cases it can be threatening of a miscarriage, when the uterus starts tocontract to expel the embryo out, or it can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy where the embryo is implanting outside the uterine cavity. A doctor should examine the case, do an ultrasound and put together a plan according to the diagnosis.

Vaginal ultrasound is a safe method of examination in early pregnancy. The probe will never enter the cervix or the uterus, so it won’t cause any harm to the embryo. Many ladies have misconceptions and are afraid they will miscarry after a vaginal ultrasound, building their thoughts from stories which are unfortunate coincidences.

A pregnant woman may need 2 or 3 visits during her early pregnancy. One or two ultrasounds may be done, specially at 12 weeks, when an early detection of abnormalities may be possible.

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