What To Expect at Your First Prenatal Appointment

Congratulations, you’ve just found out you’re pregnant! The next step is setting up an appointment with your OB/GYN to help you prepare for your pregnancy journey. Your first prenatal appointment is an important milestone on your path to motherhood. Here, we’ll cover what you can do to prepare for that appointment, what to expect at the visit, and what your care plan will look like from there.

When To Schedule

The timing of your prenatal visit may vary by care center, but generally it’s recommended you be seen when you’re 6-12 weeks pregnant.

What to Bring

Like any doctor’s visit, coming prepared can help you make the most of your time with your provider. Below is a brief list of items to bring with you:

• Your insurance card
• A list of your current medications and any allergies you have
• A list of any questions you have about your pregnancy
• A partner to come with you for support

What to Expect

At your first visit, there’s various tests that will be done to assess your current health and make sure you’re entering pregnancy as healthy as possible.

  1. A Check of Your Medical History. At your initial visit, your provider will want to conduct a thorough assessment of your medical history, including understanding any chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  2. A Physical Examination: A physical exam may include a breast exam, pelvic exam, and blood pressure check.
  3. Blood Tests: Your first prenatal labs will be drawn to help screen for infections such as syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Another important blood test is the Rh factor. Rhesus (Rh) status is either positive (+) or negative (-). If your blood type is Rh negative, then you may be at risk for Rh disease, which affects about 10% of people. Rh disease is a pregnancy complication in which your body produces antibodies that attack the baby’s blood and can result in a life-threatening situation for this and future pregnancies. Fortunately, Rh Immuno-globulin (Rhogam) injections are given to prevent these antibodies from forming. Rhogam is given around 28 weeks or anytime if vaginal bleeding occurs. If you are Rh negative, contact our office immediately if you develop bleeding, a car accident, or other trauma to your belly.
  4. Urine Tests: During this visit, you’ll also likely have a urine test to check for protein, sugar, bacteria, or blood cells that could indicate a condition such as a UTI, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia.
  5. A Review Of Your Diet/Nutrition: As you enter pregnancy, your nutritional needs may change. Your provider will help you review what’s needed to support you and your growing baby. He/she can offer advice on prenatal vitamins or other supplements that are safe during pregnancy. For help on choosing a prenatal vitamin, you can review our resource here.

What To Expect After Your First Prenatal Appointment

This is just the first of many important check-ins with your provider! After your initial prenatal appointment, you can expect a series of follow-up check-ups throughout your pregnancy to track you and your baby’s health. Most commonly, in uncomplicated pregnancies, you can expect appointments at these stages throughout your pregnancy journey:

• Every 4 weeks until 28 or 30 weeks
• Every 2 weeks between 30-36 weeks
• Weekly from 36 weeks to delivery

During the subsequent visits, you can expect more detailed ultrasounds, additional testing such as genetic testing, discussions around your preferred birth plan, and plenty of opportunities to ask questions. We’re excited to be with you throughout every step of your pregnancy journey! If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, you can always contact your Axia Women’s Health provider in-between appointments.

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