Your First Prenatal Visit: What Pregnant Moms Can Expect at Their First OB-GYN Appointment by Dr. Shayna Mancuso
You missed your (very regular) period this month. You gasped at the sight of the “plus sign” on the pregnancy test at home. And now you are waiting for what seems like a lifetime for your first prenatal appointment. Let’s take a closer look at what you may experience at that very first OB-GYN visit and how to prepare!
What is the best time to make that first appointment?
- This varies a little according to the preferences of your doctor or midwife. Usually between 7 to 10 weeks pregnant is an ideal time.
What will your first prenatal appointment really be like?
- This is a great time to get to know your provider and their practice in general. For example, how many doctors and midwives are in their practice? Do they each rotate on call for deliveries? What hospital or birthing center are they affiliated with? How do I contact someone in the event of an emergency?
- It is also a great time to learn about your doctor and midwives’ background and overall philosophy on pregnancy and birth.
- Inquire about what classes and books they would recommend.
How is your health?
- This may vary among providers, but you may have one visit to confirm your pregnancy and a second, longer visit which will be your official “first OB visit.” Most providers will ask you many questions regarding family history, past surgical history and any medical problems you may have.
- Next, your midwife or doctor will ask you how you are feeling in general. You will have a complete physical exam. Your vital signs will be assessed. They will examine your heart, lungs and abdomen. It is very common to check your urine and order blood tests for STIs (sexually transmitted infections), blood cells, platelets, your blood type and hemoglobin and hematocrit. A routine pap smear may be performed and they may also obtain cultures from your cervix to check for STIs.
- Your provider may perform an ultrasound sound depending on the gestational age of your baby or one may be scheduled for a later date.
- If you are greater than 10 or 11 weeks pregnant, it may be time to listen to the baby‘s heartbeat via a handheld Doppler.
How should you prepare for your appointment?
- In a sea of excitement and nervousness it is sometimes hard to remember everything! Make a list of questions you want to ask your health-care provider. Maybe bring a support person to help you process the vast amount of information you will receive.
- Ask your family members about their birth history and about any other pregnancy health concerns (or other medical problems) that may run in your family.
Remember to breathe, relax and enjoy this very first prenatal visit. It really is such a special moment and one of the many "firsts" you will experience with your beautiful, growing bundle of joy.
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