If you are pregnant, or think you might be, the first thing you should do is call your doctor or nurse. Regular medical checkups are essential for keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Such checkups are called ” prenatal care.” It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time mom or not. Proper prenatal care is necessary every time you are pregnant.
During your pregnancy, you will have many office visits, blood and urine tests, and ultrasounds to make sure the pregnancy is going smoothly. Early and regular prenatal care can help your doctor discover any potential complications and take action to protect you or your baby.
Your first prenatal doctor’s visit will probably be scheduled around 8 weeks after you missed your period. However, that depends on your health history and symptoms. The first prenatal visit usually is the longest, so be sure to schedule plenty of time for it.
Here’s what to expect during your first doctor’s visit:
Your doctor will examine you from head to toe.
- A pelvic exam will be done. The doctor may be able to feel the baby.
- A Pap smear may be done.
- Other tests may be done to check for sexually transmitted illnesses such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, which can be passed to the baby during childbirth.
You will be asked questions about:
- Your medical and family history
- How many pregnancies you have had
- The medicines you take
- Tobacco and alcohol use
It is important to let your doctor know about any health problems or concerns you or your partner or family may have.
The doctor or nurse will check your:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate (pulse)
A blood test will be done to confirm the pregnancy and see how far along you are. This is called a quantitative hCG blood test . Other blood tests will be done to check for:
- Blood type
- Cystic fibrosis
- Genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs disease
- Measles (rubella)
Urine tests will be done to check for signs of:
You may have additional blood or urine tests, depending on your symptoms and health history.
Your doctor will calculate your due date and talk to you about ways to stay healthy during pregnancy. For example, you will probably be told to take folic acid supplements. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent serious birth defects. Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should take a folic acid supplement.
At the end of your appointment, you will be told when you need to return for another check up. You will probably see your doctor about once a month until you are 28 weeks pregnant. After that, you will have more frequent checkups.
At Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose , our highly trained obstetrical teams deliver care designed for each patient’s individualized needs from the first prenatal visit through delivery in our state-of-the-art birthing center and beyond. To find a physician or to schedule a tour of our birthing center, call us today at (408) 559-2011.