Get Acquainted With Your First Prenatal Appointment
As soon as you get pregnant, you start looking forward to your first prenatal appointment. This is your first official appointment with your doctor or obstetrician. No matter it is your first pregnancy or the second, first prenatal appointment is always important as every pregnancy is different.
This appointment helps your doctor to get vital background information about yourself. In this first meeting, your doctor will conduct a thorough assessment of your health. He/she will also listen to all your concerns and problems. First antenatal visit also helps you to establish a long and healthy relationship with your obstetrician right from the start of pregnancy.
When you should get your first prenatal appointment
When you miss your period and get positive result via your pregnancy test kit, you must immediately plan a meeting with your doctor. Generally, the first prenatal visit is 8 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP). If you have not finalized your obstetrician yet, take suggestion from your friends, family or neighbors. To get satisfied, you can also visit multiple doctors and then take a decision.
It is very important to choose your doctor wisely as he/she will guide you throughout the pregnancy (labor and birth included).
Questions that may be asked:
When you are going for your first antenatal visit, be prepared to answer certain questions. These questions are generally related to the health condition of your husband, your family and yourself. This helps the doctor to handle your pregnancy in future. Some of the questions that you may expect are:
When was your last due date?
With this information, the doctor calculates your delivery due date. Besides this, your obstetrician may conduct a quick ultrasound scan as it helps in calculating exactly how many weeks’ you are pregnant by.
Have you gone through any previous miscarriages, births, or terminations?
This obstetric history helps the doctor in handling gynecological problems such as ovarian cysts, earlier surgeries of genitals, fibroids, and so on. This information also assists the doctor to handle your labor.
Whether your family has had any history related to any disease or a genetic condition?
If your family has a history of heart diseases, allergies or certain major medical conditions, it can affect your pregnancy as well. Further, it is also important for you to reveal all the information related to genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome, Patau’s syndrome or Edward’s syndrome if there is any history in your family. If there has been such a disorder in your family line, your doctor may ask for a non-invasive prenatal screening test to check the possibility of these chromosomal abnormalities in your child. Nowadays, non-invasive prenatal genetic screening tests such as NACE (Non-Invasive Analysis for Chromosomal Examination) have been developed. NACE ensures early detection of such abnormalities with high accuracy. You can undergo this test without any doubt as it is completely safe and risk-free.
What is your general lifestyle?
Your doctor wants to ask whether you smoke or drink alcohol as it should be strictly avoided during pregnancy. Further, he/she wants to know about your dietary habits and fitness regime. Accordingly, he/she will suggest you some dietary changes and recommend you certain pregnancy exercises.
Tests you can expect to undergo:
The first appointment is usually longer than the future visits of a patient as she has to go through multiple tests this time. Besides doing physical examination such as measuring your weight, height, blood pressure, your obstetrician will perform certain following basic tests:
- First, he /she will ask you for a blood test to determine the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), your haemoglobin, blood group, Rhesus factor and whether you are immune to rubella. You will also be checked for thyroid function, HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis.
- Secondly, you will be asked for a urine sample. This urine test is done to determine the level of sugar, protein and bacteria. This is to test for issues such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and urinary tract infection.
- You will probably be asked for an ultrasound scan if you are already 8-9 weeks pregnant. This scan will determine the size of your baby, his/her heartbeat, your due date and also whether you are carrying single, duplets or triplets. Sometimes, the doctor may doubt any case of chromosomal abnormality due to factors like your age and family history. If so, they may also suggest you to go for non-invasive prenatal screening test such as NACE.
After gathering all the information from your physical examination, routine tests and your answers, your doctor will suggest you a healthy lifestyle, any precautions you must take, any supplements (for e.g. folic acid is generally recommended for the first trimester) and some exercises. He/she will also give you the date of your next appointment.
Try to follow your obstetrician’s advice as much as you can and do not forget to attend your next antenatal appointment.