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    FAQ About Your First Prenatal Visit

    Updated 24 April 2020 |
    Published 03 February 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Your first prenatal visit allows your health care team to check on your health and your baby’s development and to plan the rest of your natal care as effectively as possible. Read on to learn more about what to expect during your first pregnancy appointment and how to prepare for it.

    When to schedule your first prenatal visit

    The first prenatal check-up is usually scheduled around week eight of pregnancy, or, at least, ideally before week 10. It’s a good idea to schedule your first prenatal appointment once you get a positive pregnancy test.

    The first prenatal visit is significant because getting prenatal care on time is a vital step in a healthy pregnancy. You may be able to get an earlier appointment if you have a chronic health condition or a history of high-risk pregnancies.

    If you couldn’t make your first prenatal appointment before week 10 of your pregnancy, you should still schedule an appointment with your health care provider so they can help you plan your prenatal care for the rest of your pregnancy.

    What to expect during the first prenatal visit

    You’ll probably receive a lot of information during your first prenatal visit. This can be overwhelming, so a little preparation before your visit can help you feel more relaxed.

    Your doctor will perform a physical and pelvic exam during this appointment, and they may carry out other tests, including:

    • Ultrasound to assess the development of your pregnancy
    • Pap smear to rule out the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) or precancerous or cancerous cells
    • Urine test to check protein, glucose, blood, bacteria, white blood cells, and other substances that could point to an underlying condition
    • Blood tests to check your hemoglobin levels and rule out anemia, verify antibodies to certain diseases, and determine your blood type and Rh factor
    • STD testing to screen for HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia, or syphilis

    Your doctor or nurse will also measure your blood pressure, height, and weight, listen to your heart and lungs, look for signs of any medical conditions, and assess the size of your uterus and pelvis. These examinations will allow your medical team to assess your overall health and the progress of your pregnancy, as well as identify any factors that could lead to a high-risk pregnancy.

    Your provider may order additional testing if they consider it necessary, but this isn’t always the case. Additional prenatal testing ordered during your first prenatal visit may include:

    • Genetic carrier screening: These tests allow your doctor to determine whether you’re a carrier for any genetic conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and Tay-Sachs disease. These tests can also be done before conception, and your partner can also be tested. You may be offered more specific screening depending on your ethnicity and family history.
    • Blood sugar test: This test is usually carried out during the second trimester, but you may get it done earlier if you have a personal or family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes.
    • Non-invasive prenatal genetic testing: This is a screening test that uses a maternal blood sample to find fractions of the DNA from the placenta. After analyzing the DNA of the cells, the doctors can tell if a fetus has an increased or a decreased risk of developing some genetic conditions. 

    Your doctor will also ask you questions about your personal and family history, and they may ask some questions about your partner’s medical history as well.

    How to prepare for your first pregnancy appointment

    It’s important to gather as much information as possible about your own medical history and that of your partner and your family. This information will be useful for your doctor to determine what risks may be associated with your pregnancy, how far along you are, and how t