Once a woman has confirmed her pregnancy, the next step is to make an appointment to see a doctor for a series of prenatal visits. There are many unknowns during a first pregnancy and you may not know what to expect at your first prenatal visit.
Here is a breakdown at what a typical first visit will consist of. Although it will vary from doctor to doctor, most first visits are scheduled from 6 to 9 weeks of gestation.
This will probably be your longest visit because of all that will take place, so plan to be there about an hour in order to accomplish everything.
The first thing will likely be paperwork. Even if you've seen the same doctor previously, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your current pregnancy, last menstrual period and health history.
If you've not been seen before, you're likely to fill out a detailed history for both you as well as the baby's father. Next will likely be a physical examination.
This may include a pap smear to screen for sexually transmitted diseases as well as cervical cancer. During this time your healthcare provider will feel the size of your uterus to make sure that it feels appropriately sized.
You may experience some slight spotting afterward due to the sensitivity of the cervix, but don't worry unless the spotting seems excessive or lasts longer than one day.
You may also get a breast exam to check for lumps. Lastly, you will likely have blood drawn and don't be alarmed if there are several vials worth taken.
Common tests are for HIV, antibodies for Rubella, as well as iron levels and blood type. During this visit you may also be counseled on a variety of topics.
You will learn about the policies of your doctor's office, medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, important nutrition information, and how to treat common pregnancy discomforts.
This is definitely the time to ask any questions you may have and get clarification on anything that doesn't make sense to you. Although pregnancy can be full of unknowns, your first prenatal visit should not be of concern.
Although your first visit may differ slightly from what's above, having a general idea of what to expect will help to ease your anxiety and give you confidence in knowing what is going to happen.