You have finally gotten a positive pregnancy test! Before you can schedule your first prenatal appointment, it’s time to find an obstetrician or midwife you want to work with. Some clinics are ‘group practices,’ and you might see a different provider every time you go in. In a small practice, you might see the same provider every time. You will also have to think about whether you want a hospital-based birth, a birthing-center, or a home-birth.
Preparing for Your First Prenatal Appointment
Once you know who you want to work with, you can call and schedule your first prenatal appointment. Some practices do extensive intakes over the phone or by video before you come in. Other clinics will have you come to the clinic in person for the intake.
Be prepared to talk about these topics with your prenatal provider:
- Your gynecological history, including the date of your last menstrual period and whether you have been pregnant before
- Major medical history for yourself and your partner
- Your and your partner’s family medical history, including ethnic background, which can increase the chances of passing on certain genetic disorders
- A list of medications and supplements you take (including dosage information)
- A list of vaccinations you have had
- Your mental health history
- Information about recent (or upcoming) travel to regions with high levels of zika virus, malaria, tuberculosis, monkeypox or other infectious diseases
- Your lifestyle habits, including past drug use, current drug use, nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and domestic violence.
Your provider will likely perform a physical and pelvic exam. You will probably have blood drawn to confirm the pregnancy, check for infections, check for genetic carrier status, and determine your blood type.
You may need to give a urine sample to check for glucose, protein, white blood cells, and bacteria. Some clinics will provide an ultrasound to confirm the location of the pregnancy and check the baby’s heartbeat.
What Questions Do You Have for Your Provider
It is a good idea for you to make a list of questions for your provider, like:
- What is my estimated due date?
- Are there foods I should focus on or avoid while I’m pregnant?
- Is it true that I shouldn’t empty the cat litter box during my pregnancy?
- How much caffeine is safe for me to drink?
- Do you recommend a specific prenatal vitamin?
- What should I do if I experience vaginal bleeding and cramping?
- What is your position on inducing labor (or any other procedure you are concerned about)?
- How can I contact you if I think of questions later? Is there an advice nurse line I can call if I’m worried about a symptom?
We hope this helps you prepare for your first prenatal visit! Congratulations on your pregnancy!