Routine Visits & Testing
Visits to our office are typically every four to six weeks until you reach 32 weeks of pregnancy. Between 32 and 36 weeks, your visits will be every other week and then weekly until delivery. This schedule may vary, with some women needing to be seen more often. If you have a preference as to who you’d like to see during your checkups, let the schedulers know each time you make your return appointment.
Monitoring your health and your baby’s during your pregnancy will involve undergoing some routine tests. During your first visit, we order lab work to check for anemia, blood type and Rh factor, thyroid function, urinalysis, immunity to rubella, and screen for hepatitis B and syphilis. We will also offer you testing for HIV, screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea, do cystic fibrosis carrier screening, and check for gestational diabetes as needed. If you are due for a pap test, we will perform that as well.
Genetic counseling with the UCSF Health Prenatal Diagnostic Center in Marin is available if you will be 35 years or older by your due date and if you or your partner have a family history of genetic conditions. There are several screening and/or testing options available for all women to detect fetal abnormalities in the first and second trimesters:
- 10 – 15 weeks: Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). Performed by a perinatologist, this alternative to amniocentesis is usually reserved for women over 35 or families with a history of genetic conditions.
- 11 – 14 weeks: Integrated Screening, a blood test that screens for Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18. At this time, we will also perform a targeted sonogram called a Nuchal Translucency.
- 15 – 20 weeks: AFP test, a blood test that screens for Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, and neural tube defects.
- 16 – 18 weeks: Amniocentesis, a test done by a perinatologist and usually reserved for women over 35, families with a history of genetic conditions, or as a follow-up to positive genetic screening results.
- New genetic screening options, including a noninvasive blood test called cell-free fetal DNA testing (Harmony), are also available through the UCSF Health Prenatal Diagnostic Center in Marin when clinically indicated.
- If your labs results show that you are Rh negative, you will receive one or more shots of Rh immune globulin (RhoGAM) to keep you from becoming sensitized to Rh-positive blood that your baby may have.
- Between 24 – 28 weeks, we screen for anemia and gestational diabetes. The majority of women who test positive are given nutritional counseling for diet modification and are taught to monitor their blood sugars daily. A small group of women will require medication, serial sonograms, and early antenatal testing at Marin General Hospital’s Family Birth Center.
- Between 35 – 37 weeks, we perform a test called Group Beta Strep (GBS). This easy, painless test uses a cotton swab to test for the GBS organism, normally present in 20% of men and women, around the outside of your vagina and anus. If you test positive for GBS, we will recommend antibiotics during labor to prevent transferring this organism to your baby.