Medical and administrative procedures

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The nine months of pregnancy are punctuated with several mandatory antenatal check-ups. It is not always easy to follow. The first one, for example, must be completed before the end of the third month. The following ones are monthly. You will certainly have a better time with your pregnancy if you understand your medical and administrative follow-up. An overview in 10 questions.

Being pregnant

How do I know if I am pregnant ?

The pregnancy hormone beta-hCG is secreted from the eighth day following fertilization. However, the amount of it may be too small to be immediately detected by a test sold in pharmacies. The amount of beta-hCG then doubles approximately every two days until the twelfth week of pregnancy, so most obstetrician-gynaecologists therefore recommend waiting for the estimated date of your periods or even the fifth day of your periods being late before doing the test.

How many check-ups are there during the nine months of pregnancy ?

The antenatal journey consists of 7 mandatory check-ups. The first one should take place before the end of the third month, the following ones are monthly.

What happens during the first mandatory antenatal check-up ?

The first mandatory antenatal check-up must be completed before the end of the third month. Your gynaecologist will confirm the diagnosis of pregnancy and conduct a thorough obstetric clinical examination. It will include taking stock of all of your medical history to compile a complete file. He or she will also explain the key stages of your antenatal journey. He or she will assess the likely start date of the pregnancy.

What administrative procedures do I need to complete ?

The first antenatal check-up is very important on an administrative level as it will enable Social Security to create the file that opens your rights. You receive a maternity health record provided by your doctor or transmitted by the Departmental Council of your place of residence. Before the 14th week at the latest, remember to make your declaration of pregnancy to the Health Insurance office (CPAM) and the Social Welfare Family Allowance office (CAF). Then, after each check-up, you will be given a certificate to send to the Health Insurance office (CPAM).

What are the first laboratory tests

From the first consultation, various mandatory biological tests are carried out: screening for syphilis, serological tests for rubella and toxoplasmosis, blood test to determine your blood group and whether your blood is rhesus positive or negative A urine test is also done to determine glucose and albumin levels. Your doctor can also recommend screening for HIV and hepatitis C and B.

Are there any other laboratory tests later ?

At each antenatal check-up you will have a urine test for glucose and albumin levels. If the toxoplasmosis serology is negative, the test is repeated every month. Depending on the development of your pregnancy, some additional tests may be prescribed by your doctor. Screening for Down’s syndrome is proposed between the 15th and 18th week of pregnancy. If a risk is established, an amniocentesis should be performed to confirm or disprove this possibility.

When is the first ultrasound scheduled for ?

Between the 11th and 13th week following the date of your last period. This is a real event as you will see your future baby or babies for the first time. So there is a festive atmosphere surrounding you. But it remains primarily an examination that provides the opportunity to check various data: dating the pregnancy, identifying the number of foetuses, localisation of the placenta, embryo development, and, in contrast, detecting any anomalies.

What is the purpose of the second and third ultrasound scans ?

The second scan should be carried out between the 20th and 22nd week following the date of your last period. It helps to deepen the morphological study because by then you can distinguish your baby’s head, arms and limbs. If he is correctly positioned, you will also discover his gender. The third ultrasound is performed 32 weeks from the date of your last period. The sonographer will ensure that all is well in anticipation of childbirth. He or she examines the maturity of the placenta, the umbilical cord location and the position of your baby. He or she also estimates the baby’s weight and size.

How do you prepare for delivery?

Childbirth conditions are discussed during the eighth month check-up. This is when a radiograph of the pelvis may be prescribed if it seems too narrow for delivery by natural means. A pre-anaesthetic consultation is proposed. One last check-up will take place during the ninth month to ensure that all is well and provide you with a few final tips.

And after delivery ?

A postnatal check-up is required within eight weeks after delivery.