Your first prenatal appointment will generally be around 8 weeks after your LMP (last menstrual period) unless you did not meet with your health care provider before you were pregnant. In this case, you should schedule a prenatal visit as soon as you know you are pregnant! Even if you are not a first time mom, prenatal visits are still important because every pregnancy can be different. This visit will probably be one of the longest, and it will help if you arrive prepared with vital dates and information. This is also a great time to prepare a list of questions that you and your partner might have about your pregnancy.
Your doctor will ask for your medical history, which includes:
- Medical and/or psychosocial problems
- Blood pressure, height, and weight
- Breast and cervical exam
- The date of your last menstrual period (an accurate LMP is helpful when determining gestational age and due date)
- Birth control methods
- History of abortions and/or miscarriages
- Medications you are taking
- Medication allergies
- Your family’s medical history
Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam which will include a pap smear, cervical cultures, and possibly an ultrasound if there is a question about how far along you are or if you are experiencing any bleeding or cramping. Blood will be drawn and several laboratory tests will also be done, including:
- Hemoglobin/ hematocrit
- Rh Factor and blood type (if Rh negative, rescreen at 26-28 weeks)
- Rubella screen
- Varicella or history of chicken pox, rubella, and hepatitis vaccine
- Cystic Fibrosis screen
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- Tay Sach’s screen
- Sickle Cell prep screen
- HIV test
- Hemoglobin levels
- Hematocrit levels
- Specific tests depending on patient such as tuberculosis and Hepatitis C
Your healthcare provider will probably want to discuss the following:
- Advice concerning dental care, cats, raw meat, fish, and gardening
- Fevers and medications
- Environmental hazards
- Travel limitations
- Miscarriage precautions
- Prenatal vitamins, supplements, herbs
- Diet, exercise, nutrition, weight gain
- Physician/midwife rotation in the office
You might also want to prepare a list of questions to ask your provider such as:
- Is there a nurse line that I can call if I have questions?
- If I experience bleeding or cramping, do I call you? Do I talk with your nurse?
- What do you consider an emergency?
- Will I need to change my habits regarding sex, exercise, nutrition?
- When will my next prenatal visit be?
If you have not discussed labor and delivery issues with your doctor, this would be a good time to do that. This helps ensure that there are no surprises when labor arrives. You may want to discuss the following topics:
- What situations would warrant an episiotomy?
- What are your thoughts about natural childbirth?
- What situations would warrant a Cesarean?
- How long past my expected due date will I be allowed to go?
- What is your policy on labor induction?
Last Updated: 09/2008