After basking ourselves with the mixed emotions of the pregnancy, the next big and responsible step is to make sure that the baby and I are safe. We had our first prenatal checkup while I’m still around 8 weeks pregnant. The OB gave me a list of a lot of tests to do. This is the one after my TVS ultrasound.
I’ve researched about the right time to start your prenatal checkup and found out that some women prefer to start at 12 weeks. As for me, we opted to start early. I got a list of test that need to be done. These includes the following:
- Blood Typing
- Blood Glucose Test
- HIV Test
These tests are a must to make sure that I have no infection that might affect the child or to prevent any disease from passing to the baby. The HIV Test is important because it will determine if I’m allowed to breastfeed my baby. HIV can be passed to the child by breastfeeding. Everything was a bit of a breeze except for the papsmear which I think hurts a lot and the blood glucose test which requires me to fast for 8 hours before taking the test. That’s for my first pre-natal visit.
The second and the succeeding visits were a breeze except when I went for my 28th week checkup and tests. At this particular week on the pregnancy, tests for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is done. I was asked to fast for 8 hours before the first blood test. After getting the first set of blood, I was then instructed to drink a 75-ml glucose drink. It was so sweet I nearly puke it out. Then I waited for an hour and another set of blood were taken from me. Another hour for the third batch of blood. It was exhausting for me, given that food is really my bestfriend during this pregnancy. When the results came out, I was instructed by my OB to see an endocrine specialist since my result were high.
By the way, my family has a history of Diabetes, my father and older sister were both diabetic and both are on medications for it. After the Endocrine doctor saw my results, she advised me to go on a diabetic diet and start insulin since my result is way too high for a pregnant woman and my family history adds up to the risk. I was also asked to monitor my sugar level on different times of the day and to make sure that it doesn’t shoot up.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM puts me on the high risk pregnancy. It’s manageable but at the same time it also means that I need to be closely monitored. GDM can lead to having a very big baby or it may decrease the amniotic fluid of the fetus or it may trigger a pre-term labor. Aside from the blood glucose monitoring, my OB instructed me to get a biweekly Bio Physical Profile (BPPS) ultrasound and Non-Stress Test.
The BPPS will check the gestational age of the baby by measuring various part of the baby. It will also check for heartbeat, current position of the baby, gender and the maturity of her organs. What we need from this test is the amount of amniotic fluid she currently have. This is to make sure that my fluid is still enough and to make sure that they baby is not in distress.
The Non-Stress Test or NST is the heartbeat and kick counting test. I need to have a snack before doing this test to make sure that the baby is awake and I would get at least 5 kicks per hour. Luckily for me, I have a happy kicker in my tummy. This test can also check for contractions.
I was also given a steriod to help the baby’s lungs mature, in case I go to preterm labor. According to my OB, when a mother has diabetes there’s a chance that her baby’s lungs will mature late. Reading about the complication that I might get into is scary but it’s really manageable with proper monitoring and proper diet.
Prenatal checkups should be done monthly to make sure that the baby is developing well and no complication will affect her as the pregnancy progresses. Here in the Philippines, mother can avail free prenatal checkups from the Barangay Health Center. Or, you can go directly to your chosen hospital or OB to get one. Some hospitals offers birth packages with free monthly checkup. Please check with your chosen hospital on what packages you can avail.
Please take note that I am not a healthcare professional. Information posted here are from my own experiences. If you find yourself in the same situation and you need help, please contact your OB for discussion.
Care to share some tips on how to handle prenatal checkups or GDM? Share them below!