24 May 2022

Pregnancy follow-up

Blood tests, blood pressure tests, ultrasounds, urine tests... At the first visit to the obstetrician or the midwife, the mention of the nine months of pregnancy follow-up seems like an obstacle course!

But these medical essentials have only one goal: to ensure the well-being of the mother and her baby. The baby is there, so small, measuring the size of a plum... But you're already willing to take care of him, watch over his well-being, and create a cozy cocoon where he will evolve safely until he comes into the world.

At 12 weeks, the first ultrasound arrives with a little apprehension and it's difficult to realize that, in a few months, you will be holding your baby in your arms. Diameter of the abdomen, height, estimated weight, measurement of uterine height... The obstetrician lists a series of information on the health of the baby. You freeze when you see this little being appear there, on the screen. Suddenly, the heartbeat resounds in the room. And then, you feel ready to move mountains.

The first few weeks, you feel tired, but by the second trimester, the fatigue is gone, and so is the nausea that used to make your life harder. Hormones give you a peachy complexion and a mane that would make a Hollywood star green with envy.

A new ultrasound between the 4th and 5th month of pregnancy lets you know what color you'll be decorating your baby's room with, and that the two of you are well taken care of.

As your belly gets rounder, more and more tests are done: blood tests to make sure there is no toxoplasmosis or hepatitis, urine analysis to calculate the albumin level and anticipate gestational diabetes, screening for trisomy 21...

Every month, we head to the laboratory for the pregnancy follow-up, which has become a routine but allows health professionals to reassure a mom that has tons of questions. In the end, this obstacle course that was so dreaded at the beginning of the pregnancy becomes a reassuring haven, with many health professionals always listening and answering questions in a way all moms can understand.

The last trimester is devoted to preparing for the arrival of the baby, to create a nest as cozy and protective as mom's belly. Fatigue comes back, you run out of breath quickly and each contraction reminds you that the birth is near. You get impatient. A new contraction. Then another contraction. Is this a labor sign?

In this article

The different ultrasounds


In France, a minimum of three ultrasounds are scheduled during your pregnancy to monitor your progress and to help you get to know your baby.

At 12 weeks of amenorrhea, a first ultrasound will allow you to know your exact delivery date. The obstetrician or midwife will also check your baby's health through different measurements.

In the 5th month, you will learn the sex of your baby, but you'll also learn the weight and size, see the skeleton and see the movements!

The 3rd ultrasound in the 8th month gives you a final check-up with the possibility of doing it in 3D.

Baby's sex: what clues do we have?


If you're too impatient to find out the sex of your baby to wait for the ultrasound, here are a few clues to help you figure it out...

  • Our grandmothers looked at the shape of your belly: your belly is forward, it's a boy. You carry the weight on your hips and back, it's a girl.
  • You have acne from your teenage years, so the baby is a boy.
  • You ate sweet food before pregnancy, so you're having a girl. Salty food, so you're having a boy!

However, even if these little tricks are fun, the only real verdict will come from the ultrasound machine! So be patient...

Medical examinations of the pregnant woman


For 9 months, you will receive special attention from your family and friends, as well as from your doctor. In addition to ultrasounds, these regular examinations are intended to ensure your good health and that of your child. On the menu: 8 consultations with blood tests, blood pressure control and urine analysis.

Depending on the results of these medical examinations, additional tests may be performed by your doctor or gynecologist.

In addition to these consultations, do not hesitate to consult your gynecologist if you have any doubts about certain symptoms.

Problems during pregnancy


Pregnancy is a special and intense time in a woman's life, but it is not always a smooth ride.

Here are some of the problems that can arise:

  • Your blood pressure is a roller coaster ride: low during the first trimester, it takes you on a merry-go-round of dizziness and lightheadedness before returning to normal, then rising during the last few months.
  • If you're bleeding, don't panic. There are many benign causes. Bleeding can simply sign the time that your period would have been due.
  • If your cervix opens up before the ninth month, it may be a sign that you're overdoing it and it's time to rest.

When in doubt, whatever the concern, don't hesitate to visit your gynecologist rather than getting anxious.