This article is about the physical examination of pregnant women. In this article, we will discuss how doctors can examine pregnant women. This article includes:


When a woman is pregnant, she must get a medical examination to safeguard the health of both herself and her unborn child. This test is critical because it lets healthcare experts monitor their patients’ pregnancies and identify any possible issues. It consists of a range of assessments and tests designed to check their health condition. Also, verify that their pregnancies are developing normally. We’ll go through the many parts of the physical examination of pregnant women in this article.

Physical examination of pregnant woman

Physical Examination of Pregnant Woman

1. Medical History

Taking a detailed medical history is an important part of the general examination of pregnant women. In addition to asking about previous pregnancies, medical conditions, medications, and allergies. The healthcare provider may also ask about the woman’s lifestyle habits. Such as –> her diet, exercise routine, and use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. This information can help the healthcare provider to identify any potential risk factors for complications during pregnancy. Also to provide appropriate guidance and support.

2. Vital Signs

Checking a pregnant woman’s vital signs is an important part of the physical examination. Blood pressure should be measured at every prenatal visit. High blood pressure can lead to complications. Such as –> preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy that can be dangerous), preterm labor, and fetal growth restriction. A normal blood pressure reading for pregnant women is generally below 140/90 mmHg. Pulse and temperature are also monitored to identify any potential signs of infection or other complications.

3. Weight and Height

Measuring the pregnant woman’s weight and height is important. For tracking her weight gain during pregnancy and ensuring that it is within a healthy range. A healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends on the woman’s pre-pregnancy BMI(Body Mass Index).
Women who are underweight may need to gain more weight. Women who are carrying multiples may need to gain more weight than those carrying a single fetus. Height is also measured to calculate the woman’s BMI.

4. Abdominal Exam

During the abdominal exam, the healthcare provider will assess the size and position of the uterus. The size of the uterus can provide important information about the gestational age of the fetus and any potential growth abnormalities. The position of the uterus can also help to determine the presenting part of the fetus i.e. whether the head or buttocks are closest to the birth canal. Which can affect the mode of delivery. The healthcare provider will also use a fetal Doppler to listen for the fetal heartbeat. Which provides information about the health of the fetus.

abdominal examination during pregnancy

5. Pelvic Exam

A pelvic exam is typically performed during the initial prenatal visit. To assess the health of the woman’s reproductive organs and to screen for any potential infections or abnormalities. The exam involves the insertion of a speculum into the vagina to visualize the cervix and to take a sample for a Pap test (a medical test to check for abnormal cells in the cervix). The healthcare provider will also perform a manual exam to assess for any abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.

6. Laboratory Tests

Various laboratory tests may be ordered during physical examination to monitor the health of the woman and the fetus. A complete blood count (CBC) is a test that measures the number and types of blood cells and can identify anemia or other blood disorders. A blood glucose test is used to screen for gestational diabetes. Which is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. And can lead to complications for the mother and fetus.

lab test during prengancy

A urine test can screen for urinary tract infections or other conditions such as preeclampsia(A pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and organ damage). screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is also recommended for all pregnant women. Certain diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can create problems during pregnancy and delivery.

7. Ultrasound


An ultrasound is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create images of the fetus in the uterus. During the physical examination. The healthcare provider may order an ultrasound to assess the size and position of the fetus, check for any abnormalities, and estimate the due date.

8. Non-Stress Test

A non-stress test is a test that measures fetal heart rate in response to the baby’s movements. This test is typically performed in the third trimester to monitor the health of the fetus and identify any potential complications.

9. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Screening

GBS is a type of bacteria that can be found in the vagina or rectum of some women. If left untreated. GBS can cause serious infections in newborns. During the physical examination. The healthcare provider may perform a GBS screening to determine if the woman is a carrier of the bacteria.

9. Rh Factor Testing

Rh factor is the protein that can be found on the surface of red blood cells. If a woman is Rh-negative and her fetus is Rh-positive. It can lead to complications during pregnancy. During the physical examination, the healthcare provider may perform an Rh factor test to determine the woman’s blood type and Rh status.

10. Breast Exam

During pregnancy, a woman’s breasts undergo significant changes as they prepare for lactation. The healthcare provider may perform a breast exam to check for any lumps or abnormalities and to provide guidance on breast care and breastfeeding.

11. Thyroid Exam

It is essential for controlling metabolism and hormone levels in the body. During pregnancy, changes in hormone levels can affect thyroid function. Healthcare providers may perform thyroid exams to check for any abnormalities and order additional tests if necessary.

12. Gynecological Exam

The healthcare provider may perform a gynecological exam to check for any infections or abnormalities in the reproductive system. This may include a colposcopy (a medical procedure that examines the cervix and vagina for abnormalities). Which is a procedure that uses a special microscope to examine the cervix for abnormal cells.

13. Fetal Movement Assessment

Starting in the second trimester, the healthcare provider may ask the pregnant woman to monitor fetal movements and report any changes or concerns. In some cases, the healthcare provider may perform a formal fetal movement assessment to check the baby’s well-being.

14. Gestational Diabetes Screening

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. The healthcare provider may order a glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes at 14-28 weeks of pregnancy.

15. Anemia Screening

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin. Which can lead to fatigue and other symptoms. The healthcare provider may order blood tests to screen for anemia during pregnancy and provide recommendations for supplementation or treatment if necessary.

16. Cervical Length Measurement

The healthcare provider may perform a cervical length measurement to assess the risk of preterm labor. This involves using an ultrasound to measure the length of the cervix. Which can help predict the likelihood of premature delivery.

Preterm labor is when a pregnant woman has contractions and changes to her cervix before 37 weeks. Which can be risky for the mother and baby.


In summary, doctors conduct a thorough physical examination of pregnant women to assess various aspects. Which promotes the health and well-being of both mother and fetus. Attending all scheduled prenatal appointments and informing healthcare providers about any concerns or symptoms are crucial steps for pregnant women to take. When working together, healthcare providers and pregnant women can ensure a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.

Further Reading

IntakeLearn provides high-quality study material for students and has a massive course structure on Pregnancy and Maternal Health Care. Thanks for reading this article. You can also read more informative articles: Physical Examination of a pregnant woman and how to take care of a pregnant woman.

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1 Comment

Akshay Sharma · May 28, 2023 at 12:26 am

Thank you for sharing such great information on physical examination of pregnant woman. I’m always looking for quality content and finally I found this in your article. Please continue with this kind of informative articles and it seems very helpful to me in my studies.

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