The at-home pregnancy test says you’re expecting! You’re excited and there are a million things running through your mind. One of the first things you should do at this point is to schedule your first prenatal appointment. Your provider will have a host of questions, will perform a number of screenings, and have plenty of advice to offer so it is a good idea to be prepared for this appointment.
Scheduling and Preparing For Your First Appointment
As soon as you know that you are pregnant from the results of an at-home pregnancy test, call your provider to schedule your first prenatal appointment. You will be excited and ready for your visit immediately, but expect to have your first visit six to eight weeks into your pregnancy. Inform the office if you should have any concerns if you may be at high-risk of miscarriage due to your medical history, they may be able to get you in sooner.
While waiting for your first appointment, start living your life as an expectant mother. Take it easy, eat healthy and stop any bad habits such as smoking. Good prenatal care is vital to having a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. Call your doctor’s office with any questions you may have regarding good prenatal care until you are able to get into the office.
Prepare for Your First Prenatal Visit Once Your Appointment is Scheduled By:
- Documenting your medical and mental health history – your physician will need to know about any major surgeries, illnesses and allergies. If there are any allergies that you have to medications, include this in your notes. Sharing any history of depression or anxiety is also important.
- Documenting your gynecological history – Information about your cycle, difficulty conceiving or carrying to term and any abnormal pap smears and sexually transmitted diseases should be documented. The date of your last menstrual cycle will be important to determine your due date.
- Documenting your current prescriptions – your provider needs to know any medications and supplements you are taking and the dosages.
- Documenting your family’s health history – Any illnesses in your family history would be important for your physician to know about, this could signal a need for particular screenings.
- Documenting any habits that could affect your pregnancy and unborn child including alcohol, tobacco or drug use.
- Documenting any potential exposure to any contagious diseases.
Questions You Should Ask
Start a notebook and begin to jot down your questions that you may have for your provider. Once the appointment starts, it is easy to forget them. Remember to put this information, along with the information you have assembled for your doctor in one central place and take this with you to each appointment. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Your Due Date
- What symptoms should I expect and what unusual symptoms should I share?
- What diet should I follow?
- Are there any limitations on my workouts or any activities I should avoid?
- What prenatal vitamins or supplements should I be taking?
- Will my current medications affect my pregnancy?
- When should morning sickness start and how long will it last?
- Are they any precautions I should take regarding sex?
- How can I contact your office after hours?
- What should I do if I have cramping or bleeding?
- When is my next appointment and how often will I see you?
- When will the first ultrasound be conducted and who can be present?
- Is there any testing that should be done specific to my pregnancy and history?
- When should we start discussing the birth plan and my wishes?
The First Prenatal Visit
When you call to make your appointment, feel free to ask what the first appointment involves in your provider’s office. You can often get this information from their website. Some things that you should except for your first prenatal visit:
- Check-Up – Your provider will conduct a general health exam and ask you questions and perform a pelvic exam, assessing your uterus and pelvis.
- Confirmation – A urine test will be conducted as well as a blood test that can verify your HCG levels.
- Conception and Due Date Calculation
- While most providers perform ultrasounds after the first visit, this may occur as it helps to date your pregnancy.
- Routine prenatal Tests – Although they vary across the country, some common tests include:
- Urine Test – to check protein, glucose and white blood cells
- Blood Type, Antibody and Anemia checks
- Genetic screening to assess your status as a carrier for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and others
- STD Tests
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