Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby – now what do you do? Well, you can expect a lot of appointments with your obstetrician gynecologist. The number of visits can vary, but will typically be 10 to 15 in total through your pregnancy. You will see your OB/GYN every 3 to 4 weeks to begin with, then more often as you get nearer to your due date.

  • How do I choose my doctor?

It’s important to choose the best OB/GYN in Dubai, and to have a doctor you like and trust – simply because you will see so much of them. The appointments are to make sure you and your baby are both healthy, so it’s vital not to miss any. You will probably have different questions to ask as well so it’s a good idea to write everything down so you don’t forget in the consultation.

  • The first appointment

Your first appointment is to check your health and discuss your medical history and any pre-existing conditions the doctor needs to know about. To ensure the best pregnancy care, you should schedule this appointment as soon as you find out you are pregnant. This will probably be your longest consultation, as you’ll have a thorough physical exam and be asked lots of questions about your menstrual cycles, any kind of lifestyle habits that might affect the baby, and your family’s medical history as well as your own. Be prepared to be poked and prodded a little in this appointment - a blood test is done to check for diseases like syphilis and HIV, and immunity to rubella. You should also expect to have a pelvic exam and a Pap smear test.

  • Screening

Finally, you will also be offered screening for conditions your baby might have. These are done via simple blood tests. NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) is a blood test for Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders. You may be offered quad screening, which is a similar but not quite as accurate test. It’s important to understand that the screening only gives a probability - depending on the result, you may choose to have additional tests. At this stage you could choose to have the CVS (chorionic villus sampling), which can be performed from 10-13 weeks of pregnancy and tests the tissue of the placenta - giving a more definite answer. None of these tests pose a risk to the baby, but the CVS test has a slightly higher risk of miscarriage – so be sure to discuss thoroughly with your doctor before going ahead. These tests can also tell you the sex of your baby, so be sure to say if you don’t want to know. Of course if you can’t wait until your ultrasound scan to find that out, it’s a way to know all the quicker.

  • The rest of your first trimester

You can expect to have your first ultrasound scan any time from 8-14 weeks. The best OB/GYN will then be able to tell you when your baby is due, and check your baby is developing correctly. At this consultation you will also be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat! The second ultrasound scan, called a ‘level 2’ ultrasound, will be between 18-20 weeks. This will be where the midwife, in the interest of providing the best pregnancy care, checks your baby’s development thoroughly. You should be able to see hands, feet, and face. You’ll also find out (if you want to) whether you’re having a girl or boy. You can choose to have a 3D or 4D scan for a more accurate picture of your baby, though 2D is the standard. You can choose to have an extra scan at any time if you would like – it won’t harm your baby. Then – that’s probably it, until your second trimester.

  • The second trimester

From 12-24 weeks of pregnancy, you will probably see your OB/GYN between every 2-4 weeks. At each appointment your doctor will check your blood pressure, weigh you, and take a urine sample. It might feel a bit too much, but all these tests are important in making sure there are no complications such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. From now on they will also check the size and position of the baby. Your doctor will ask how you are feeling, and check on your and your baby’s health. At this point your baby is growing quickly, so while early sensations such as morning sickness and cramps should have eased by now, you might instead experience some strange tinglings or shortness of breath. You should feel the baby move at around 18 weeks, with movement increasing as your pregnancy continues. If your earlier chromosomal tests showed abnormal results, you might choose to have the amniocentesis test at this point. It is over 99% accurate for diagnosing Down syndrome and over 90% accurate for other disorders. This can be performed until up to 20 weeks.

  • The third trimester

At this point you’ll see the best OB/GYN in Dubai every two weeks, then after 36 weeks it will be every week. In the third trimester the doctor will need to check if the baby is in the breech position, and to see if your baby has ‘dropped,’ meaning he or she has moved into position for labour. You should also be given the Tdap vaccine for whooping cough, and you’ll very likely be given a flu shot if there is a chance you might catch it. If your pregnancy is high risk, at this stage you may need to have biophysical or non stress tests just to make sure everything is fine. And, if you haven’t gone into labour by week 41 or week 42, you will probably be induced, to avoid any health issues later on.

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