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Visit to your doctor at your second trimester

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Throughout your second trimester, you’ll continue to visit your doctor once a month—unless there is a need for you to go more often. Each appointment would probably begin with you stepping onto the scale to ensure that you are gaining weight normally.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Here is an overall list of things to keep in mind while visiting your doctor.

Monitoring your weight gain.

During your fourth, fifth and six months, you should be gaining about 250 to 350 grams a week. By tracking your weight, your doctor can estimate your baby’s growth and watch for signs of preeclampsia.

Doctors stress that you should try hard to stay within the proper weight recommended for your body. Straying too far from this guideline could lead to difficulties.

Why you shouldn’t gain too much weight?

  • You put extra stress on your heart, which already is working overtime to pump increased blood volume
  • You put additional stress on your joints, which pregnancy hormones may already have loosened and made lax
  • You increase your risk of developing preeclampsia (a form of high blood pressure); a serious condition that can be life-threatening
  • You’ll be more likely to develop aches in your lower back
  • You may make labour and delivery more difficult because your baby will be big

It is, however, important that you gain about 9-14 kilos depending on your initial weight.

Second-trimester tests.

Urinalysis. This test, performed at each doctor visit, measures the protein and sugar in your urine. It will detect excess protein, which can be a warning sign of preeclampsia.

Triple-marker test. This test measures a specific protein, alpha-fetoprotein or AFP, in your blood. If the AFP levels are high; it may identify a neural tube defect; if AFP levels are low (combined with abnormalities found in two other tests), this may identify Down’s syndrome. Initially, this was done in mothers above 35 years of age, but American College of obstetricians and gynecologists (2003) recommends that all expecting mothers be offered second trimester maternal serum AFP screening.

Rhesus (Rh)-antibody-level test. This blood test is for rhesus-negative mothers. Most people have a specific protein in their blood called the Rh factor. Those who don’t are called Rh-negative. If a mother tests Rh-negative, the father of the child also should be tested for his Rh factor because problems arise when an Rh-negative mother conceives a baby with an Rh-positive man. The tests are done about halfway through the pregnancy or at once if the mother has a bleeding problem.

Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to visualise the unborn baby. An ultrasound examination can detect a pregnancy as early as six weeks after your last menstrual period and show the baby’s movements at approximately 12 weeks of gestational age.

Extra test for women older than 35.

Amniocentesis. This tests the fluid surrounding your baby to detect chromosomal and other genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome, haemophilia, and sickle-cell anaemia. It is usually performed on mothers older than 35 during their 15th to 16th week of pregnancy and on mothers who have an abnormal triple-screen result.

These tests are important to keep you and your baby healthy. Consult your doctor in case of any other complication or question. And enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy.

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