Your first prenatal check-up is an incredibly exciting time, and it’s natural that you might be feeling a little nervous about it – especially if you’re pregnant with your first child. We’ve put together a little guide to help you understand what to expect at your first prenatal check-up, so you can put your mind at ease and enjoy the experience for what it is.
When should I schedule my first prenatal check-up?
It’s important that you schedule your appointment whenever you see a positive result on a home pregnancy test, or if your doctor has informed you that you’re pregnant. It’s likely that the check-up will be schedule for when you think you’re around 8 weeks pregnant.
What will the check-up involve?
Your first prenatal check-up will involve a lot of questions – in fact, it’ll probably be the longest appointment you have during your pregnancy. The caregiver will need to determine your exact medical status in order to provide the best possible treatment and care for you and your baby. You’ll be asked:
- When the first day of your last period was (to help determine how far along you are, and potentially figure out a due date)
- Any gynecological problems you’ve experienced in your life (including disorders like PCOS or endometriosis, and sexually transmitted infections)
- Information about previous pregnancies you may have had (including ones which weren’t carried to full term, for any reason)
- Whether you’re allergic to anything, including medications
- Whether you suffer from any chronic conditions or psychiatric issues
- Whether you smoke, drink or take drugs
- Whether you’ve been in hospital for a prolonged period before, and whether you’ve ever had surgery
- Information about any hereditary conditions within your immediate family
These basic medical facts will help your doctor get a clearer picture of your health, and the health of the baby.
What else will happen at the check-up?
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam to ensure that everything is as it should be. If you weren’t sure when the first day of your last period was, or if there are question marks over how far along you are, you might be taken for an ultrasound.
You’ll also be tested for anemia, immunity to rubella, immunity to chicken pox, and you’ll have a full pelvic exam with a Pap smear included.
How should I prepare for the check-up?
You’ll naturally have plenty of questions about your pregnancy, and it’s important to note them down and don’t be afraid to ask them. Your caregiver will be happy to answer them and put your mind at ease, and you’ll return home feeling far more informed about your pregnancy.
You should also bring a list of any medication you’re currently on, or have taken recently. This includes vitamins and other supplements – your physician will be able to offer guidance on which ones are suitable to take while pregnant and which ones should be stopped immediately.
Most of all, you should try to relax and enjoy your first prenatal check-up. This is a memorable and exciting time for all of the family – and your first check-up will only come around once! Make sure you take the time to appreciate the experience, and ensure that you leave the appointment feeling informed.