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I’m pregnant! When do I visit the doctor?

How to prep for your first prenatal appointment.

June 14, 2017

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Your pregnancy test is positive and nothing can stop the good mood you’re in. Before you shout your news from the rooftops, take a little time to let it all set in. Then after telling your partner, it’s time to have a conversation with another important member of your team – your doctor or certified nurse midwife. Now’s the time to schedule your first prenatal visit.

When will I go to my first prenatal appointment?

The timing of your first prenatal visit varies by clinic. There’s no right or wrong time. Most often, you’ll be seen for your first appointment between 6-12 weeks. Yes, this seems like a really long time to wait, especially when you have so many questions!

To make the time go by faster, get a head start on your first visit by:

1. Reviewing your medical history:

We will ask you about your medical history, your partner’s medical history and your family history. This is to make sure you have the best prenatal care plan for you and your baby. It’s also a good idea to bring a list of your current medications. Make sure to include any vitamins and over-the-counter medications you’re taking.

2. Writing down your questions:

It’s hard to remember everything! Write down your questions and bring them with you to your first appointment. Check out our suggested list of questions here.

3. Taking a prenatal vitamin:

There are many good options for over-the-counter prenatal vitamins. Look for one with at least 400mcg of folic acid and make sure it includes DHA, which is a supplement that can help promote brain and eye development. DHA is also found in fish, so adding low-mercury fish to your diet is beneficial for you and your baby.

4. Taking care of yourself:

Keep yourself hydrated, well-nourished and well-rested.

But what if I have pain or bleeding?

If you have pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy, call your clinic immediately. It doesn’t always indicate a problem with your pregnancy, but it is important that we see you quickly. Visit your nearest emergency room if the clinic is closed. It’s hard not to panic in these situations, but try to stay as stress-free as possible for you and your baby’s overall health.

What happens at my first prenatal visit?

Your first visit may include a full physical exam, including breast and pelvic exam, as well as some routine blood and urine tests. You will spend time talking to us about what to expect during your pregnancy. You’ll learn about the types of prenatal visits and tests you’ll have until your baby is born. And there will be plenty of time to go through your list of questions.

We know you are excited to see your baby as soon as possible. In this first visit, you may be able to listen to your baby’s heartbeat. Generally, it can be heard at or after 10 weeks of pregnancy. Your ultrasound, where you can actually see your baby, may be scheduled for later in your first trimester. But, each clinic does it differently. So, feel free to ask about specific ultrasound timing and details when you call to schedule your initial visit.

Who will I see during my first prenatal visit?

You have many choices when it comes to your prenatal care. You can visit an OB-GYN, Certified Nurse Midwife or even your primary care doctor. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, some clinics may encourage you to see as many different people as possible throughout your pregnancy, like OB-GYNs, Certified Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners. At many clinics, you also have the option to see the same person for every visit. Now’s the time to evaluate your individual needs so you can find someone you’re comfortable with and who you trust. After all, we’ll be spending a lot of time with you in the next several months!

Is this the same person who will deliver my baby?

This is an important question to ask during your first visit. In some clinics, the same person you see during your prenatal visits will also be the one delivering your baby. However most clinics share on-call duties with a group of OB-GYNs or Certified Nurse Midwives. That means “your” prenatal doctor or midwife won’t necessarily be the person on-call to deliver your baby. Each situation has its own advantages.

It’s natural to have many questions and concerns as you continue through your pregnancy. Your top priority is keeping you and your baby healthy. This is why it’s so important to start regular prenatal care.

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