Discovering you are pregnant is a wonderful time in your life. One of the first things you might wonder is when you need to go to the doctor’s office to start your prenatal checkups.
When is Your First Doctor’s Appointment?
You can call your OBGYN as soon as you get a positive line on a pregnancy test. Be aware that many doctors schedule the first appointment between eight and nine weeks. That means you have to wait a month, which can be stressful, but it will be nice to get confirmation that everything is fine.
What Happens at Your First OB Visit?
Keep in mind that every doctor does things slightly different, but all are similar. Your first visit typically starts with an ultrasound to confirm and date your pregnancy, the news that everyone wants.
Next, a nurse in the office takes your current weight, checks your blood pressure, and will ask you for a urine sample. In addition, the doctor will take blood to determine blood type and rhesus factor. Also on diseases such as HIV and rubella is being tested. Once the initial measurements are taken, you head to the room to wait for the doctor. For your first visit, most doctors require a pap smear, which is never fun, but necessary. After the pap smear, the doctor will talk about your past history and give you time to ask questions. Upon leaving the doctor’s office, typically you will be given an order or second appointment to have bloodwork done for standard health procedure.
As you wait for your first appointment, plan what questions you want to ask at your first doctor s appointment, most pregnant women have dozens of questions to ask their OB, but if you can’t seem to come up with all the questions, here are some that may help you get the answers you need.
Questions You Might Want to Ask at Your Doctor’s Appointment
How much weight is ideal for me to gain?
Every doctor has an ideal recommendation for how much weight their patients should gain. Most of the time it is based on your starting weight and BMI.
Are there any risks or concerns I might have during this pregnancy given my medical or family history?
Some women have pre-existing conditions, an advanced maternal age, or a previous or a family history that increases their risks. For example, previous C-sections can increase your risk for placenta previa and placenta accreta.
Can I continue my regular exercise routine throughout my pregnancy?
If you exercised before conceiving, you should be fine to continue your current exercise routine, but it’s always a good idea to double check with your doctor, especially if your workout or athletic routine is strenuous.
Is it safe to have sex?
So long as you have no medical conditions that make it unsafe, most OBGYNs will let you know that sex is pregnancy safe, but hearing those words from a doctor can often times settle any doubts women may have.
Do I have to avoid any foods and drinks aside from alcohol?
Every doctor has different reactions to this. Some might tell you that lunchmeat can be risky and needs to be heated, while other doctors tell you most foods are safe. There are general guidelines, however it all comes down to what you and your doctor feel comfortable with. Although opinions divide here, there are certain foods that should be avoided during pregnancy, e.g. raw milk products as well as meat, fish, sausage and eggs in raw or semi-raw state, besides offals. Fruits and vegetables should always be washed thoroughly before consumption.
Do you recommend I receive any screenings? If so, why?
Screenings for potential issues, such as Down Syndrome, are a personal choice for parents. Your doctor might have a particular reason why or why not he advocates for them. These examinations are especially recommended, if the parents are older or if there are possible pre-existing conditions. Get detailed advice from your gynecologist.
Do you deliver all of your patient’s babies, or do you have someone else on call? If so, who?
If your doctor is in a practice with other doctors, they may rotate who is on call and delivers the babies that day. If it is a single practice, you will want to know who covers deliveries.
If I get sick, what medications are pregnancy safe?
Many doctor’s offices have lists that they can give you of pregnancy-safe medications.
Are the medications I currently take pregnancy safe? If not, what are some alternatives?
Some medications aren’t pregnancy safe, so you might have to work with your doctor to find alternative.
Is it safe to sleep on my stomach still?
The recommendation is to sleep on your left side, however, most doctors will tell you that sleeping well on your stomach is okay if you feel comfortable.
Can you tell me your opinion or policies on inductions, elective c-sections, delayed cord clamping, vaginal birth after C-section (VBACs), epidurals, or whatever is important to you and your birth plan?
Be sure to talk to your doctor about the issues that matter the most to you!
Heading to your first doctor’s appointment is exciting. It makes the pregnancy feel real and allows you to check on the health of your baby. Make sure you do your research ahead of time so you can ensure you’ll be walking away with all your questions answered and can enjoy your pregnancy carefree.