Routine physical examinations are all the information and measurements taken from pregnant women. They are our outside signals which we should observe. As soon as we arrive at the hospital the midwife, doctor or healthcare professional will ask various questions related to our health. She will ask about our social history, family history, previous pregnancies and everything else related to our general health. This person is responsible to take all our information and measurements related to our pregnancy. This is not a test, but it may raise serious issues if something important related to our pregnancy needs special attention.
Such an example could be if you had preeclampsia in your previous pregnancy. In that case the midwife will recommend closer monitoring and observation of the vital signs (blood pressure and heart rate) during pregnancy. Women with social and family problems (domestic violence) may need special help, which is why the midwife is responsible to find out if you need such help and contact the nearest center to protect you and your baby.
Routine physical examinations- what the results actually mean?
Weight and height: These proportions should be measured every month. If the woman has gained too much weight, it may increase the risk of developing problems during pregnancy. However, she may add 2kg each month, but if she adds specifically 5 kg in her 6th month of pregnancy it may be a sign for gestational diabetes. Insufficient weight gain may also compromise your baby’s health and cause preterm birth. Whether you are overweight or underweight you should have a healthy diet plan to control your weight.
Fundal height measurements: This is done during the antenatal routine checks to assess your baby’s growth. They use a fine tape marked with centimeters, and the beginning of the tape is placed from the top of your pubic bone. The midwife will palpate the fundus of your uterus and pull the tape to the top of your uterus. The result should match with the number of weeks are you pregnant (1 or 2cm plus or minus).The fundal height can only be measured between your 24th and 36-37th week of pregnancy because in the late pregnancy your baby moves into the pelvis. If the measurements don’t match, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound scan to check the baby’s growth.
Blood pressure: At every antenatal appointment your blood pressure is checked and ensures that you and your baby are healthy. It is normal for your blood pressure to change during pregnancy. Most women have low blood pressure during their first and second trimester because of the leading pregnancy hormone progesterone. It relaxes the blood vessels and makes your blood flow faster which can make you feel like you are about to faint if you stand for too long. A normal blood pressure tells that your pregnancy is going well. The biggest concern throughout pregnancy is the potential sign of high blood pressure that your midwife will be watching closely. High blood pressure can cause serious problems during your late pregnancy called preeclampsia.
Baby’s position examination: Determining your baby’s position can be performed at about 36 weeks of pregnancy. This is done by using the Leopold’s maneuvers by palpating the fundus so that the midwife can feel the baby. In order to determine on which side the baby’s back is facing, the midwife will have to palpate each side of the uterus. If the baby lies breech, your doctor may recommend treatment to turn your baby’s head in down position. Most women with their babies lying in breech position end up with a Cesarean section.
You can be assured every precaution will be taken by your healthcare professional, and any possible problems or abnormalities can be caught and treated as soon as they are discovered. The key is to be sure you are getting your regular examinations.