What To Expect At The First Prenatal Appointment

It’s early days yet but the excitement is still ringing in your ears. “We’re pregnant!” Everyone wants to feel your belly even though you won’t be showing for 3 months and you’re waiting for that dreaded morning sickness to kick in.

One of the first things to do when your pregnancy is confirmed, is book in to see your doctor. She will go over your blood test results with you and begin taking observations such as your blood pressure, heart rate, weight and general health. If your first official prenatal appointment is with your Ob-gyn, and not your regular GP, then she will take all these measures as well. Since your Ob-gyn will want to see you at around eight weeks, you may like to visit your GP in advance of that to make sure you start off on the right foot.

You’ll need to report any medications you are taking for any conditions you have. This includes insulin for diabetes, blood pressure meds, antidepressants … anything at all that you take on a regular basis, including vitamin pills. If you like, you can even take the bottles with you so you can check that what you’re taking is safe to use during pregnancy. If you are taking any recreational drugs or other hazardous substances, now’s the time to come clean. Honesty is the best policy, for the sake of your own health and that of the baby you’re carrying.

Pregnancy Health
Your doctor will ask you when your last period began in order to calculate your due date. She will also want to know about your medical history including your menstrual cycles, gynecological issues, STD’s, previous pregnancies, miscarriages and abortions.

General Health History
It’s important that you provide details about your general health history, including any major operations, allergies and ongoing illnesses. All of this information will be recorded on your file. Your family’s health history is also important at this visit because if there are any hereditary conditions that run in your family, your Ob-gyn will be able to offer screening tests or at least keep an eye out for any indicators that you may be a carrier.

Genetic Counselling
If your Ob-gyn deems you to be at risk of developing any significant health issues during your pregnancy, or if you are in a risk category for birth defects or other genetic possibilities, she will provide you with plenty of information that will reassure you and she may also order tests to be carried out.

Blood and Urine Tests
It’s normal practice to have blood taken to determine your blood type and also to check your iron levels. You will also be tested for hepatitis B, syphilis and your immunity to Rubella (German Measles). It is your choice as to whether you are tested for HIV and some doctors simply don’t offer this so you may have to request it. At this and at each subsequent prenatal visit, you will be requested to provide a urine sample, which will be tested for urinary tract infections and any other irregularities.

At your first prenatal appointment, you will probably feel overwhelmed by all the questions asked of you and by the number of questions you also want to ask. Consider writing a list before each appointment so that you don’t forget what you intend to ask. Your doctor is your chief person in your medical support team and she will be the one who will give you the most accurate advice in terms of your personal health. Never be afraid to ask, and always tell her anything of that concerns you.

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