Once you've celebrated your exciting news, your next step is to make an appointment with your obstetrician! Here's what to expect at your first visit.
At your first pregnancy appointment, your health care provider will confirm your pregnancy and then do an examination, much like your typical physical, to assess your general health. Your weight and blood pressure will be recorded, and your provider will check your heart, lungs, belly and breasts. You’ll also receive a pelvic exam, which includes a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and vaginal cultures to screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Your provider will then manually determine the size of your uterus and pelvis while simultaneously checking for any abnormalities of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Everyday factors that could affect your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or infections, should be identified right away and addressed immediately.
At your first visit, they will also go over your health history and your family’s medical history to determine if there are any risk factors that could affect your pregnancy. These risk factors could include your age, any existing or previous health conditions you may have and any genetic illnesses that may be present in your family. Your provider will also ask about any previous surgeries or exposure to contagious diseases, and they will ask about any medications—prescription or over-the-counter—that you take or have taken in the past.
You’ll be answering a lot of questions during your first visit, but don’t forget that your provider is there to answer your questions as well. In addition to learning about the health of your body and baby, you’ll have the chance to ask any and all questions: What should I be eating? Are the symptoms/feelings I’m having normal? What activities or foods should I avoid? How much should I be exercising? When is my due date? Think about your questions before your appointment and don’t be afraid to ask them; this appointment is the first of many with your provider throughout your pregnancy, and it’s the one that providers expect to be the longest.
This first appointment is just the start of following your baby’s development through your pregnancy. With a caring, experienced health care provider who can answer your questions and provide support along the way, it’s the start of a nine-month (more or less) experience that you’ll look back on for the rest of your life!