What To Expect On Your First Prenatal Visit

The first prenatal visit will take longer then your other prenatal visits. During the visit a complete history will be taken as well as a complete physical exam. Your urine will be checked, blood tests will be ordered, and in some cases an ultrasound will be ordered. There will be a chance for you to ask questions as well.

At the start of the first prenatal visit you will be asked to fill out paperwork. If you are new to the office, this will include demographic information. You will then be brought back to the examining room and you will be asked to provide a urine specimen. Several tests will be done on the urine specimen. A pregnancy test to confirm that you are pregnant will be done. The urine will also be tested for glucose to look for diabetes and protein as a baseline in case you develop preeclampsia in the future. Vitals such as blood pressure and weight will be measured. You will be provided a gown and asked to get undressed for an exam.

The doctor will take a history. This means the doctor will ask you all kinds of questions about any medical medical problems, past pregnancies, past surgeries, lifestyle issues, etc. This is done to look for any issues that may effect the pregnancy. This is also a good opportunity to to ask questions of the doctor. Many women forget all their questions when they are in the doctor’s office and it can be frustrating when you get home and realize your questions were not answered because you forgot to ask them. I encourage you to write them down and bring them in so you will remember to ask.

A physical exam will be necessary. This includes your thyroid, heart, lungs, abdomen, breast exam, and pelvic. The pelvic exam will include cultures of the cervix, a pap smear, and a bimanual exam. The bimanual exam will check the size of the uterus giving an idea how far along the pregnancy is, the ovaries, as well as the bony structure of the pelvis to see if there seems to be enough room to have a vaginal delivery. This type of full exam is only done once during your pregnancy. In the follow up appointments you will not need to get undressed.

After the physical exam the doctor will talk to you about any findings on the exam and give you a chance to ask more questions. Some offices, such as mine, have a health educator to meet with after the doctor’s appointment. The health educator can give you more information a well. A follow up appointment will  be made usually in 4 weeks if all seems well. Lab work is ordered, and sometimes an ultrasound if needed.