Like many women, you may be bursting with excitement and nervous energy during those first few weeks of pregnancy. You may also be anxious about your first prenatal checkup and wonder what to expect.
Our pregnancy and prenatal care specialists at Cary OB/GYN in Cary and Morrisville, North Carolina, understand exactly how you feel. To ease some of your anxiety and nervous energy, we’re using this post to share some of the details of what you can expect during your first, and usually your longest, prenatal checkup.
Scheduling your first prenatal checkup
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, getting early and regular prenatal care is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy. So, when should you schedule your first prenatal checkup? That depends.
We recommend that you contact us as soon as you know you’re pregnant to schedule your first prenatal appointment. In most cases, your first appointment is scheduled eight weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period.
Depending on when you started taking your home pregnancy tests, you may have to wait a few weeks until you come in for your first visit. However, if your pregnancy is high-risk, we may have you come in sooner.
The ins and outs of the first visit
Your pregnancy and prenatal care needs are unique to you, and no first prenatal checkup is like another. However, some of the things you can expect at your first prenatal visit include:
- A review of your menstrual cycle
- A discussion about your medical, gynecological, and family history
- A review of your partner’s medical and family history
- Checking your heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature
- Measuring your height and weight
- A physical exam
- A pelvic exam
We also perform a 3D ultrasound at your first prenatal visit to confirm pregnancy and establish your due date. You also get to hear your baby’s heartbeat during your ultrasound test.
You can expect this first visit to be the longest prenatal checkup. Give yourself ample time in your own schedule so you don’t feel stressed or rushed.
Lab tests and screenings
We also perform a number of routine and optional lab tests and screenings during your first prenatal appointment. Testing includes:
- Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer
- Blood type and Rh (rhesus) factor
- Hemoglobin levels for anemia
- Immunity status to determine if you need to update vaccinations
- Check for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
We may also run additional screenings to assess the health of your baby, including genetic testing to check for congenital fetal conditions such as trisomy 13 syndrome and Down syndrome.
Answering your questions
Your first prenatal checkup isn’t complete until we’ve answered all of your questions. We recommend that you write a list of questions and concerns before your visit so we don’t miss anything.
We also talk to you about what you can expect during your pregnancy, including the frequency of your visits and the types of tests you need throughout. We also prescribe a prenatal vitamin and talk to you about some of the lifestyle changes you should make to limit exposure to substances that may be harmful to your baby, such as alcohol and nicotine.
At the end of your first prenatal appointment, we schedule your next visit, which is usually about four weeks after the first. Contact us immediately if you experience any cramping or bleeding between your first and second prenatal appointments.
For top-of-the-line prenatal care from a team that puts you and your baby’s needs above all else, call Cary OB/GYN today at the location nearest you.