If you read my last post in the What to Expect series, you’ll know that the very first appointment you have with your nurse practitioner or doctor is almost an hour and a half long! Definitely an overwhelming experience, but rest assured that you’ll feel great about your pregnancy and if you’ve had any questions, they’ll get answered. Most doctors now offer email communication which makes your life even easier when you feel uncertain about things you can or can’t do.
So when do you see your doctor next?
Believe it or not, you don’t see your doctor again until you’re really close to starting your second trimester. The second time I saw my doctor was when I was 12-weeks. I literally saw my doctor and then jumped on a 14 hour flight overseas. That was for sure an exhilarating experience.
The 12-week check-up lasts about 45 minutes including the wait time from getting your blood pressure, weight and temperature taken to when you actually see the doctor. My doctor called this the “viability” exam to make sure that the fetus is still viable and growing. Some women can miscarry between weeks 8 and 12, hence why you have your appointments around then.
Your doctor will go over any prenatal blood work you had done and answer any questions that have come up since your last visit or email and then you’ll have another vaginal ultrasound. I know… I just shared too much info, but I want to be real with you all. This is the last vaginal ultrasound you have unless they can’t take certain measurements at your anatomy ultrasound later down the road (different post to come!).
As uncomfortable as it is for those 15-20 minutes of scanning, it’s remarkable. At 12-weeks, your little kidney bean has developed arms, legs, you can make out the skull and even its ears! While gender is determined upon conception, you won’t really be able to start spotting genitalia until around 9-weeks and even then, most doctors and ultrasound techs won’t tell you what you’re having until your anatomy ultrasound which happens between 18 and 20 weeks (at least with my health care provider).
If you so choose, between these first two appointments you’ll have your first round of genetic testing. You won’t get the results in until after your genetic ultrasound (this checks for any spinal abnormalities in the crucial growing stages) and the second round of genetic testing that’s done at the beginning of your second trimester.