One way to find out how your baby is doing is through regular prenatal appointments. Depending on where you are in the process of your pregnancy now, you need to see your doctor for regular baby checks.
In addition, some expecting moms might face situations like having high maternal age (over 35), diabetes, high blood pressure, or already experiencing pregnancy complications.
What Do You Need to Do in the First Prenatal Appointment?
You can ensure that participating in prenatal appointments has many emotional and physical benefits. Try to schedule them such that you can attend all the sessions. The number of prenatal visits may vary from 10 to 15 sessions. But in this article, we will focus more on the first prenatal appointment, when to schedule the first prenatal visit, and how to prepare for it.
These sessions are just as important as the time you spend on the fun side of pregnancy, such as choosing your baby's name, buying baby clothes, and setting up her/his room. It is also good to have your spouse or partner with you. If it is not possible for them to accompany you, ask a friend or family member. The purpose of prenatal appointments and examining your baby's health condition is to discuss any concerns and topics that you might have in your mind.
When to Schedule First Prenatal Visit?
Remember to schedule the prenatal appointment with an OB/GYN, midwife, or family doctor who best suits your circumstance. Consider factors such as the distance between home and the practitioner's office, where you want to give birth, your delivery type, or any health complications you might experience.
Booking with a midwife or an OB/GYN is usually recommended because they are generally in high demand. The final point to consider is the time of your first prenatal visit, which should be somewhere between 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
In fact, if you are having a normal healthy pregnancy, this is the schedule to consider for your prenatal care:
Paying monthly visits: weeks 4 to 28
Once every other week: weeks 28 to 36
Every week visit: week 36 until your due labor date.
Necessary Measure before Attending the First Prenatal Appointment
It is an excellent idea to organize everything before your appointment. Usually, expecting mothers have lots of questions to ask their practitioners. Still, their memory goes blank at the time of visit.
Here, a simple and effective technique is to write down your list of questions before attending regular check-in sessions.
Also, speak out about any other concerns you may have during your pregnancy, such as any feelings of irritation and discomfort. If you are consuming alcohol or drugs, talk to your doctor without embarrassment because it is essential for your baby's health.
Inform your doctor of any family history of illness or health problems in your or your partner/spouse's family. Ask him/her to tell you what to expect in the later stages of pregnancy in case of physical and emotional changes. If you are taking a particular medicine, name it.
Of course, the first prenatal appointment is usually longer than the others because your doctor needs to know the complete and detailed health records of you and your spouse/partner.
What Medical Tests are performed at the First Prenatal Visit?
Now, let's talk about other stages of prenatal visit: physical examination and the series of prenatal testing performed during prenatal visits. Your doctor will do routine checks like weighing you, checking your blood pressure, examining your breast, carrying a pelvic exam, taking urine tests, and examining your blood test. Other tests include STDs, Pap smears, blood sugar, and genetic carrier screening.
In the second trimester, all the tests mentioned above are done. In addition to that, the practitioner will check to track your baby's development.
For example, your doctor will measure your abdomen or listen to your baby's heartbeat. She may also perform some tests to analyze any possibilities of genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities. Using the ultrasound picture, the doctor can inform you about the sex of your baby, too.
Ultrasound and Doppler scans have other uses; they enable your OB/GYN to ensure your baby develops a healthy spine, heart, brain, and abdomen.
In the third trimester, the routine tests will be repeated once again. Your doctor will look at your GBS screen or talk about some vaccinations needed, such as flu shot, tetanus, or Tdap. Depending on how much time is left to your due date, doctors will also check the baby's position inside the uterus.
What are Health Problems Detectable during Parental Appointments?
As it was mentioned in the previous paragraph, the frequency of prenatal appointments increases in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Having specific conditions makes you fall into the high-risk pregnancy category, which implies visiting your practitioner more often:
Risky maternal age (+35), expecting to have twins, triplets, or more, and weight problems (like obesity, overweight/severe underweight).
Problems such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or high blood pressure during pregnancy are also more likely during the third semester of pregnancy.
If your baby has growth issues, it is usually diagnosed late in pregnancy.
It is true that as a mom-to-be, you are having a whale of a time, but you need to take the issue of scheduling prenatal visits seriously.
Especially if it is your first pregnancy or if there have been any difficulties with your previous ones.
At the first appointment, which is commonly the longest, your doctor or midwife will collect a complete medical history of you and your spouse/partner.
This information is essential because it gives your doctor an overview of how you and your baby are doing and what problems you might expect along the way. Remember that diagnosing health problems in early pregnancy makes it easier to treat them.
It is good to inform your doctor about any concerns or worries you might have. Ask them to speak to you about the next steps and what to expect.
Try to commit to attending all prenatal appointments. In that case, you and your baby's mental and physical health care will be best guaranteed.