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If you did not see your doctor before you were pregnant, your initial prenatal visit would normally be approximately eight weeks after your last menstrual period. If this is the case with you, it is advisable to schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as you’ve discovered your pregnancy.
Irrespective if it is your first pregnancy or not, prenatal visits are still essential since no pregnancy is the same. The first doctor’s appointment will most probably be the lengthiest, and it can be helpful to arrive equipped with necessary dates and information that the doctor may require from you. This is also an opportune moment ask the doctor questions that you and your partner may have about your pregnancy, prenatal attention and birth choices.
What will the doctor require with a first visit?
Your physician will ask about the details of your medical history, including:
- Psychosocial and/or medical issues
- Height, weight and blood pressure
- Breast and cervical examinations
- Date of your last menstrual period (the right date is accommodating when determining gestational age and the due date of the baby)
- Birth control methods you were using
- History of any miscarriages or abortions
- List of medications you are taking
- Any medical allergies
- Your family’s medical history
Your doctor will also carry out a physical exam which includes cervical cultures, a pap smear and an ultrasound if there is uncertainty about how far along you are and if you’re experiencing symptoms that include cramping or bleeding. Women with high-risk pregnancy case may seek the services of Sydney obstetrician Dr Rahul Sen to manage their medical care for the remainder of their term.
Blood will be drawn, and some laboratory tests will be performed which include:
- Haemoglobin/ haematocrit
- Rh Factor and blood type (if Rh is negative, a rescreen will be done at 26-28 weeks)
- Varicella or history of hepatitis vaccine, rubella and chicken pox
- Rubella screen
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- Cystic Fibrosis screen
- HIV test
- Haemoglobin levels
- Haematocrit levels
- Sickle Cell prep screen
- Tay Sach’s screen
- Patient-specific testing, i.e. tuberculosis and Hepatitis C
Your physician or obstetrician may want to discuss the following factors:
- Recommendations relating to dental care, cats, certain dietary restrictions and gardening
- Environmental hazards
- Medications and fevers
- Prenatal supplements, vitamins, herbs
- Exercise, healthy diet, nutrition, weight gain during pregnancy
- Travel limitations
- Midwife/Physician rotation at the office
List of possible questions you can ask your doctor
- Is there a contact number or nurse line to call when you have additional questions?
- In case of cramping or bleeding, who must you call? (Doctor or nurse)
- What symptoms are construed as an Emergency?
- Are there any habitual changes you need to make regarding exercise, sex or nutrition?
- The date of your next prenatal visit?
- What type of testing does your doctor recommend and when must they be done?
If you haven’t discussed your delivery and labour conditions with your physician or obstetrician, this is the perfect time to do so.
These questions may include:
- Any questions you have about natural childbirth.
- What situations call for a Caesarean delivery.
- What circumstances warrant the need for an episiotomy?
- How long after your expected due date will intervention be necessary?
- The doctor’s policy on labour induction.