Now that you’re in the Second Trimester, your prenatal appointments will become shorter, only about 15 minutes each. These visits will begin like any other, with your healthcare provider checking your weight and blood pressure to make sure that all is progressing smoothly.
Many women will schedule their 20-week ultrasound around this prenatal visit, and those who do should expect this appointment to run a bit longer than most, usually about an hour. If you do get an ultrasound right before meeting with the healthcare provider, this is what the healthcare provider or ultrasound technician will be looking for:
- Boy or Girl: If you wish to know, your ultrasound technician will be able to tell you at this time whether you are having a son or a daughter. Just remember to be clear about whether or not you want to know, before they coat your belly in jelly.
- Placental Location: The placenta often covers the cervix in early pregnancy, but it is supposed to move up as gestation progresses, providing an open pathway for baby to crawl out of. If the placenta is covered, a condition known as placenta previa, you’ll be given another ultrasound in the third trimester to see if the problem has resolved on its own, which is the case for most instances of second trimester placenta previa. If it has not, a C-section is probably necessary.
- Baby’s Size: The ultrasound technician will take Baby’s measurements to make sure that he is growing at the rate he should be, according to the due date. If he is too large or too small relative to the projected due date, it may be revised one way or another.
- Amniotic Fluid: Your healthcare provider or the ultrasound technician will check how much amniotic fluid Baby is floating in, as too much or too little can be a problem.
As always, your healthcare provider will take your weight, blood pressure, and have you leave a urine sample, which they will test for high levels of protein and sugar. Testing for protein is now especially important, because week 20 marks the beginning of the risk of developing preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to an organ system, but is often detected by protein in urine. Your healthcare provider will also take Baby’s heart rate with a fetal Doppler, an exercise that will become a part of the pre-natal visit routine.
- “Slide show: Fetal ultrasound.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Prenatal care: 3rd trimester visits.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 7/30/2015. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Third trimester pregnancy: What to expect.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 5/5/2014. Web.
- “Signs & Symptoms.” Preeclampsia Foundation. Preeclampsia Foundation, 7/5/2010. Web.
- “The role of amniotic fluid.” PennMedicine. PennMedicine, n.d. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Placenta Previa.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 5/9/2014. Web.