What to Expect From Your First
Prenatal Doctor’s Appointment
When you first suspect that you are pregnant or get that first
positive home pregnancy test you will want to contact your doctor’s
office right away. Most doctors will ask you to come to take some
tests to confirm that you are pregnant. The confirmation test
may be as simple as urine test, blood test, or both. They will
ask you when your first day of your last period was and give you
a tentative date of birth. This date of birth will be verified
later by an ultrasound. They will also tell you how many weeks
they believe you are pregnant. It is calculated based on the first
day of your last period. You will likely be at least 4 weeks pregnant
by the time you test positive as most home tests are accurate
shortly after the first missed period.
Your First Prenatal Doctor's Appointment
After your pregnancy is confirmed the doctor’s office will
likely schedule your first real prenatal appointment for between
your 8th and 10th week of pregnancy. Doctor’s office’s
like to wait till at least after the second missed period as there
is less likelihood of a false pregnancy and miscarriage. They,
however, will add the caveat that if you experience abnormal bleeding
or cramping that you should contact them right away.
When you get confirmation of your pregnancy test you should ask
the doctor’s office to supply you with handouts and information
on diet, medications, and other health tips for the newly pregnant.
As Doctor’s are often busy it is wise for you to make sure
that you get all the information that you need to make you feel
comfortable during the next developmentally important few weeks.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions
when it comes to prenatal care.
What to Expect from Your First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit at 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy will
likely be a long one. It may actually be broken into two visits
depending on the Doctor’s schedule. You Doctor will ask
you and likely have you fill out a form regarding your medical
history and that of your immediate family. Your doctor might also
ask the baby’s father some questions regarding his medical
history and that of his family. She will also want to know if
you own a cat as cat feces can carry toxoplasmosis which can harm
the baby. You should expect to have the following tests and exams
- Pelvic Exam
- Pap Smear to check for gynecological health and that no abnormal
cells are present
- Check cultures for sexual transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia
- They will take approximately 4 vials of blood to test for
: Hepatitis B, Toxoplasmosis immunity, anemia, blood type, syphilis,
immunity to rubella (German measles), and they will likely offer
to test your blood for HIV.
- Take urine sample to test for proteins, urinary tract infection,
and sugar levels. Most Doctor’s offices will require a
urine sample at every visit.
- Listen to your heart and lungs
- Physical exam of your breasts
- Physical exam of your uterus to make sure it is growing at
the appropriate rate.
Along with all the testing your Doctor will counsel you on various
- Genetic screening tests done by ultrasound, blood test or
- Multiple Marker Screening: blood test conducted between weeks
15 and 20.
- CVS (Chorionic villus sampling), a test done on women over
35 between 10 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. This test checks for
- Amniocentesis, an invasive test done between week 15 and 20
of pregnancy (if necessary).
- Blood tests for sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic
fibrosis, thalassemia or other genetic disorders that relate
to you ethnic background or medical history.
The Doctor will likely also counsel you on:
- What foods to eat
- What foods to avoid
- Smoking or being around smokers
- Your weight gain
- Some of the common symptoms of pregnancy and how you can
ease those symptoms. This includes heartburn, constipation,
breast tenderness and so forth.
- Domestic Violence or other types of abuse
- Flu shots
- Avoiding Cat feces and washing your hands thoroughly after
coming in contact with cats
Come Prepared to Your Prenatal Doctor's Visit
While most Doctor’s will be thorough in their discussions
with you it is always a good idea to come prepared to your Doctor’s
appointment. This means drafting a set of questions specifically
tailored to your and your partners concerns prior to arriving
at your first appointment.