It’s your very first prenatal appointment and you’re probably looking forward to it.
But what exactly is prenatal care all about?
What happens while you’re in the doctor’s clinic?
Your first prenatal care visit usually occurs in the first trimester, between eight and ten weeks.
During this time, you probably have a lot of questions you want to ask your obgyn concerning your lifestyle and health condition.
Your doctor will decide how frequent your visits will be based on your health and risk factors.
The Importance of Prenatal Care
From your first to third trimester, it is important that you visit your obgyn regularly to monitor your health and that of your baby.
During your prenatal care visit, your doctor will also educate you about pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, you will also likely be given counseling and support.
With regular appointments, your doctor will be able to closely monitor your health condition as well as your baby’s development.
Likewise, frequent visits will help provide answers to any questions you might have as you progress through your pregnancy.
In most cases, your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history.
This would include:
- Blood pressure
- Height and weight
- Allergies to food and drugs
- Previous hospitalizations
- Breast and cervical exam
- Your social and family history
- History of miscarriages or abortions
- The type of birth control methods you’re using
- Current medications or supplements you’re taking
- If you have been exposed to any contagious disease
- Medical and psychosocial problems (to identify any pregnancy risk factors)
- The date of your last menstrual period or LMP (this is to determine gestational age as well as expected date of delivery or EDD)
During your visit, you most likely have a lot of things you would like to ask.
The following questions should be included in your list.
- When is my expected delivery date?
- Are all the symptoms I’m having normal?
- Is it advisable to take prenatal vitamins?
- What does high-risk pregnancy means?
- Am I considered high-risk?
- What exercises would you recommend to me?
- What type of foods do I need to eat regularly?
- What particular foods do I need to avoid eating?
- What particular symptoms do I need to watch out for?
- Am I still allowed to have sex while pregnant?
- Is there a particular food or medication I can take to relieve morning sickness?
- Is it normal not to experience some symptoms like nausea and vomiting?
Common prenatal tests
Aside from asking for your medical history, your obgyn will often also ask you to undergo a few tests. This often includes urinalysis to check the presence of protein in your urine and see if you’re at risk for preeclampsia, otherwise known as pregnancy hypertension.
You may also have to undergo some blood test to rule out a few potential problems such as anemia, HIV, hepatitis, and gestational diabetes.
Other tests that you will most likely need to undergo include:
During this procedure, you’ll have to take a Pap test to rule out cervical cancer.
A bimanual examination will also be performed to check the size of your pelvis and uterus. In addition, it can determine the presence of any abnormalities in your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR)
This is a screening test to determine the presence of a sexually transmitted infection called syphilis. This type of infection can be transmitted through the placenta to the fetus.
Untreated cases of syphilis can potentially cause congenital syphilis, a severe condition that can cause brain damage, tooth deformities, and nerve damage.
While your first prenatal visit can be exciting, it can also be stressful, considering all the tests you will likely undergo. Fortunately, these tests are always worth the hassle as it would help guarantee your well-being and overall safety and that of your baby.