What to Expect on Your First Prenatal Visit
Whether it’s your first pregnancy or your fourth, it would be wise to schedule an appointment with your doctor the minute you find out that you’re expecting a bundle of joy. Prenatal care is important to make sure that you and your baby are okay throughout your pregnancy. Your ob-gynecologist will be able to track your progress, and check for any warning signs, during your visits. And you’d be able to ask any questions or bring up any issues you encounter throughout your pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different. If you’re a second-time mom, you might be surprised to experience all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms which you never had on your first. Keep in mind too that older moms are more likely to encounter complications than younger ones. Plus, there might be new tests to give you a better idea of how your baby is doing which were not available during your previous pregnancy.
Schedule your first prenatal visit between eight to ten weeks into your pregnancy. Think of it as the getting to know you stage. Your doctor will ask you questions to determine your due date and take a look at your medical history as well as your family’s. You’ll also be asked to take some tests, so you’ll be at the doctor’s for quite some time.
Here are some things which you might want to do before going to your first prenatal visit:
Revisit your medical history. Take a trip down memory lane, and list down any medical conditions you’ve had, contagious diseases you may have been exposed to, and previous pregnancies. Jot down any medical conditions that run in your family and your husband’s family.
Give a heads up on your present condition. Your doctor would also want to know what and how you’ve been feeling. If you’re taking any medication or you’re being treated for any health condition, tell your doctor about it.
List down your questions. You must have a ton of questions in mind, so it’s better to write them all down, lest you forget all about them. Some of the questions you might want to ask: When is my due date? Do I need prenatal vitamins? How do I handle morning sickness? What symptoms are not normal? How do I manage weight gain? Are there any types of food or activities that I should I avoid? Until when can my husband and I still have sex?
Apart from a thorough discussion of your symptoms, medical history, and other concerns, your doctor will give you a physical exam, where your weight and blood pressure will be measured, and your heart, lungs, and breasts checked, as well as a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, you’ll have a bimanual internal exam to determine the size of your uterus and pelvis and check for any abnormalities in your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. A Pap smear will also be taken to screen for cervical cancer.
You may also be asked to take a number of laboratory tests, including:
Complete Blood Count to screen for blood problems, including anemia
Genetic Tests to screen for cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, and other conditions
HbsAg to screen for hepatitis B
Type and screen blood test to determine your blood type and Rh factor. The Rh factor refers to the protein on the blood cells which causes an immune system response. If your Rh factor is not compatible with that of your baby’s, then it may cause issues.
Urinalysis to screen for kidney disease or bladder infections as well as high levels of sugar which might indicate diabetes
The doctor may also do an ultrasound to check up on your baby and monitor his heartbeat. This would definitely be a treat after going through all those questions and exams. The sound of your baby’s heartbeat will get you even more excited for the months to come.