If you recently had a positive pregnancy test, you may be wondering what’s next! Many women who find themselves pregnant for the first time aren’t knowledgeable about what comes after a positive pregnancy test, so you’re not alone. Whether you’ve been trying to conceive or this was a total surprise, there are some important things to know about what comes next in the following months.
Why Your Prenatal Appointment Matters
Your first prenatal appointment is typically the longest one you have until you give birth and is very comprehensive in nature. Your OBGYN will gather a lot of information from you, conduct an examination of your body, and will have you do a few tests. You will also have the opportunity to ask lots of questions and to learn more about what to expect during your pregnancy, what your diet should look like, exercises you should or shouldn’t do, vitamins to take, and discuss any concerns you may have.
Because there are so many important things that happen in this first appointment, you’ll want to give us a call as soon as you find out you’re pregnant! Having an OBGYN involved from the start is one of the most important and best decisions you can make during your pregnancy.
What to Expect During Your First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit usually takes place between week 6 and week 8 of your pregnancy. This is usually about the time when women find out that they are pregnant, but sometimes women won’t know until they are further along because of things like inconsistent periods and/or no symptoms. This is why it’s important to schedule the appointment as soon as you get a positive at-home pregnancy test.
Pro-tip: Don’t wait to start making lifestyle changes until your first appointment. Start getting in the habit of eating healthier, stop consuming alcohol and caffeine, quit smoking if you do, and start doing some initial research on things to do and things to avoid during pregnancy to make sure you immediately set yourself up for a successful pregnancy.
Medical History and Lifestyle Discussion
Before your first visit, you’ll want to take note of your medical history and current health condition so that you can fill the OBGYN in when you meet with them. You’ll also want to write down any personal health-related questions you may have to make sure you get those answered when you go in.
When you go in for your first prenatal visit, your OBGYN is most likely going to ask about:
- Your menstrual cycle
- How often you visit a gynecologist and why
- Any past pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths, or abortions
- Your personal medical history and your family medical history
- Your current medication and supplement intake, whether prescribed or over-the-counter
- Your exposure to potentially toxic substances
- Your lifestyle, including physical activity, nutrition, dental care, caffeine consumption, pets, etc
- Recent or future travel plans
- Sensitive issues, including domestic abuse, past drug use, etc.
All of this information is needed so that your OBGYN can give you the best possible care.
A Physical Exam
When you go into your prenatal appointment, a nurse will gather your weight and height information, as well as check your blood pressure and ask some initial questions. Then the OBGYN will come in and do a physical exam, which will include a breast exam, pelvic exam, and possibly a pap test if it’s been a long time since your last one. Your OBGYN may also screen your heart, lungs, and thyroid.
Lab Tests and Screenings
There are many different lab tests that are usually ordered at your first prenatal appointment, including:
- Your blood type to check your Rh status
- Hemoglobin levels to check for anemia
- Immunity tests in the case where you don’t have proof of specific vaccinations or natural immunity has never been listed in your medical record
- Tests for specific infections, including UTIs, bladder infections, hepatitis B, HIV, etc.
Your OBGYN will typically also order screening tests to check for abnormalities, which can include:
- Genetic tests to check for genetic abnormalities
- An ultrasound
An Estimated Due Date
Due dates are never 100% accurate. Why? Because they’re not predictions of when you are due but rather the date at which you will be 40 weeks pregnant. Some women give birth on their due dates, but most babies make their arrival days to weeks before or after due dates. Finding out your due date is important because it helps your OBGYN monitor your baby’s growth and the progress of your pregnancy. It also guides when specific tests or screenings need to happen throughout your pregnancy and gives a timeframe for when you can be expected to give birth.
What to Expect After Your Initial Prenatal Visit
You will have a sequence of prenatal visits throughout your pregnancy, and your OBGYN will determine how many you need based on the information they gather during your first prenatal visit. This will also help determine when your ultrasounds are and when you’ll get to hear the baby’s heartbeat and see the baby for the first time! There are different tests and ultrasounds you can expect to have throughout your pregnancy.
Are you looking for an OBGYN to take care of you and your baby during your pregnancy? Schedule an appointment with us and we’ll make sure our team takes incredible care of you!