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What Do the Doctors Do at a 14-Week Prenatal Visit?

by C. Giles, studioD

In your 14th week of pregnancy -- the beginning of the second trimester -- you won't be feeling your baby's movements yet, but a lot is going on inside your uterus. Your baby is now about the size of your clenched fist, is practicing a range of facial expressions and may be sucking her thumb, says the article "Week 14 of Pregnancy" on the "What to Expect" website. Most expectant moms see their health-care practitioner once every four weeks during the second trimester of pregnancy, BabyCenter says. Every prenatal visit provides a valuable opportunity to ask questions and share any concerns.

General Inquiries

At a 14-week prenatal visit, your practitioner may begin by asking you how you are feeling at this stage of your pregnancy. If any concerns were raised at your previous appointment, she'll follow up on those. For example, if you were suffering from morning sickness, dizziness or fatigue (common early pregnancy symptoms) during the first trimester, your practitioner is likely to ask if your symptoms have subsided. She may ask if you have been leaking any fluid or experiencing vaginal spotting or bleeding, says BabyCenter.

Update on Physical Changes

Your practitioner will check your weight, urine and blood pressure. It's important to monitor weight gain throughout your pregnancy to make sure you are gaining enough weight to have a healthy baby. The exact amount of weight you gain depends on your pre-pregnancy height and weight, and whether you are carrying twins or multiples. Your urine is analyzed at each prenatal visit to check for protein in the urine, which can be a sign of a urinary tract infection. According to BabyCenter, if you have protein in your urine and high blood pressure, this could be a warning sign of preeclampsia, which can lead to premature labor.

Get a Listen to That Heartbeat

Most expectant moms first hear the baby's heartbeat around 12 weeks, BabyCenter says. Your practitioner will use a Doppler -- a handheld ultrasound machine -- at each prenatal visit to check the heartbeat. From around the 14-week point, she will also use a measuring tape to estimate your baby's size and growth rate, the Mayo Clinic says. This involves measuring fundal height -- the distance between the top of your uterus and your pubic bone.

Discuss Future Screenings

You'll be offered screenings during the second trimester if you opted out of the chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test during your first trimester. According to Mayo Clinic, you may be offered blood tests to screen for conditions such as Down syndrome or spin bifida. If a blood test comes back with a high-risk result, your practitioner may suggest an amniocentesis, a diagnostic test that takes a sample of amniotic fluid from the uterus for further testing. At your 14-week prenatal visit, your practitioner will discuss your screening options and make recommendations based on your pregnancy history, age and general health.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

Photo Credits

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