First Visit – What to Expect

Getting to know each other

When should I schedule an appointment?

As soon as you suspect you are pregnant, schedule an appointment with your obstetrician. Even if you have confirmed your suspicion with a home pregnancy test, it is still wise to follow-up with an appointment. This will ensure that you and your baby get off to a good start. This is especially important if you have any medical problems, for instance, hypertension, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, or even if you are simply overweight.

Why is prenatal care important?

Regular appointments with your health care provider throughout your pregnancy are important to ensure the health of you and your baby. In addition to medical care, prenatal care includes education on pregnancy and childbirth, counseling and support.

What happens at my first medical visit for prenatal care?

The first visit is designed to confirm your pregnancy and to determine your general health. In addition, the visit will give your healthcare provider clues to any risk factors that may affect your pregnancy. It will typically be longer than future visits. The purpose of the prenatal visit is to:

  • Determine your due date.
  • Discuss your health history
  • Explore your family history
  • Determine if you have any pregnancy risk factors

What about my health history do I need to know?

You will be asked about previous pregnancies, surgeries, and medical conditions. Let your doctor know if you have had a fever, rash, or exposure to any contagious diseases. Notify your healthcare provider about medications (prescription or over-the-counter) you are currently taking or have taken in the past six months; also notify the physician of drugs or alcohol you have used . Take time to think about exposures you might have had to other potential toxins. Bring a list of any concerns, especially if you live or work near toxic materials.

What about my family history?

Ask your family about diseases that run in the family. These include hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorders, blood disorders and cancer specifically breast, ovarian, uterine and colon.

What about birth defects in the family?

Your practitioner will ask:

Whether you, the baby’s father, or anyone in either family has a chromosomal or genetic disorder, had developmental delays, or was born with a birth defect.

FAQs

Do not hesitate to ask your provider any questions you may have. Most likely, those are the questions your provider hears most often!

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. Print or write them down, take them to your appointment and feel free to add your own.

  • What is my due date?
  • Do I need prenatal vitamins?
  • Are the symptoms I am experiencing normal?
  • Is it normal not to experience certain symptoms?
  • What are the specific recommendations regarding weight gain, exercise and nutrition?
  • What activities, foods, or substances (for example, medicine, caffeine and alternative sweeteners) should I avoid?
  • Can I have sex?
  • For what symptoms should I call the doctor?
  • What is the definition of a high-risk pregnancy? Am I considered to be high risk?