Congratulations on your positive pregnancy test! As you know, this is a very exciting time, though it’s also a time to begin prenatal visits with your obstetrician.
But when should you schedule your first prenatal visit, how do you prepare for it, and how often do you need OB visits when pregnant?
Here’s what you need to know.
When Should I Schedule My First Prenatal Visit?
As soon as you’ve confirmed your pregnancy, it’s time to schedule your first prenatal visit. This will likely be your longest and most comprehensive one since your doctor will be going over your medical history, running some tests, and gathering information to discuss any risk factors of your pregnancy.
This will probably take place between 6-8 weeks after confirming that you’re pregnant, though possibly sooner depending on your practitioner’s schedule.
What’s important though is that you make your appointment first and foremost once your positive test is confirmed.
How Should I Prepare?
To prepare for your first OB visit, start by setting aside enough time for what will be your most comprehensive appointment. Think of this as a “meet-and-greet” time in which you’ll also go over your medical history, including:
- You and your family’s medical history
- Your menstrual cycle
- Any past pregnancies
- Risk factors such as exposure to toxins, lifestyle, and habits
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or other drugs, including prescription drugs and supplements
- Any travel to areas where you may have been exposed to diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, or the Zika virus
You will also need to give a urine sample and have blood drawn to perform several lab tests, including:
- RH factor and blood type
- Genetic screening to unveil any genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia
- Hemoglobin levels
- Hematocrit levels
- Screenings for various infections, such as HIV, rubella, hepatitis B, and Tay Sach’s
- Varicella screening, or your history of chickenpox, rubella, and hepatitis vaccine
- Other tests which may be specific to you, such as tuberculosis or hepatitis C
Remember to approach this initial visit without reservation for providing sensitive information to your doctor such as domestic abuse, drug use, or abortions, all of which can affect the health of your fetus. This is important, since the more open you are with your doctor, the better your chances of a smooth, safe, and healthy pregnancy!
What Questions Should You Ask Your Provider?
Before your visit, you may have questions for your provider. For instance, you may want to know about delivery and labor, or if you need to change your sexual activity while pregnant to avoid complications or surprises later. What’s important though is that you write your questions down beforehand since remembering everything during the appointment isn’t always easy!
To give you an idea, good questions to bring up in your visit may include:
- What nutritional changes do I need to make?
- Can I still exercise the same as before I became pregnant?
- What emergency symptoms should I be aware of?
- Who should I call in the event of an emergency?
- Should I call the OB or a nurse if I experience menstrual bleeding or cramps?
- When will my next visit be?
Remember that your practitioner is as concerned for the safety of you and your unborn child as you are, so don’t skimp on the questions. They’ll also be happy to answer all of them for you without judgement, so bring your list and ask away!
How Often Should You Visit?
After your first visit, you’ll start seeing your practitioner every 4-weeks during your first trimester. These visits likely won’t be as long as your first one, though it’s important that you continue asking any questions that may arise.
When Will I See My Baby in an Ultrasound?
Normally you will get an ultrasound during your first prenatal visit so that your doctor can officially confirm and date your pregnancy. However, some doctors may prefer to give it a little time to allow them more to see.
Your doctor may also use a small device called a “Doppler” to bounce sound waves off the baby’s heart at around your 12th week of pregnancy which will allow you to hear the heartbeat of your little one for the first time.
Why Choose Intermountain Health?
While pregnancy is an exciting time full of hope and joy, the safety and wellness of you and your unborn child are what’s most important. That’s why only the best, most personal and comprehensive care possible will do, which is where Intermountain Health comes in.
At Intermountain Health, you not only have the convenience of our many locations throughout Nevada & Utah, but the peace of mind of knowing that we provide you with only the best in prenatal and pediatric care available. This includes our award-winning staff of medical professionals all ready to provide you with the kind of personal, long-term care you and your precious cargo need and deserve.
And that alone is worth the time to schedule your first prenatal visit with us!