What to expect from your first prenatal visit

If you just found out you are pregnant, one of the next things you will need to do is to choose where you’ll have your prenatal care and schedule your first visit. This is a big milestone, but depending on how you feel about going to medical appointments, you may have mixed feelings – excitement to hear or see your growing baby and get your care started, and nervousness about health issues or medical tests. It helps to know what to expect. Here’s what’s involved in your first visit.

1. At Baby and Company, you’ll keep your clothes on.

It is important to do a physical exam as part of your early pregnancy care, but it doesn’t have to happen at the first visit. Unless you start your care on the later side (after 12 weeks) or have certain symptoms, your provider will skip the exam in favor of what’s even more important – talking to you, learning your story, answering your questions, and getting to know you and your family. Most people at Baby and Company have a physical exam at the second visit, and it only involves a vaginal and pelvic exam if you are due for a Pap test or need it for other medical reasons. If you’ve already had a physical exam during this pregnancy with another provider and are switching to Baby and Company, we’ll just request the medical records – no need to repeat it.

2. You’ll review your health and medical history in depth with your midwife or doctor.

Before your visit, you will complete health history forms online. Your midwife or doctor will go over your answers and ask questions to help identify any health issues that might impact your pregnancy, and to personalize your prenatal care plan based on these factors.

3. You’ll learn about ways to have a healthy pregnancy and safely manage any of your pregnancy symptoms.

You’re probably wondering what’s safe to eat, whether it’s normal to be thirsty all the time (it is!), how much weight you might gain, and how to manage that constant queasiness or other symptoms. Your provider will talk you through what you need to know and point you to resources in your Prenatal Notebook or in our online resource library to help you be as healthy as possible in your pregnancy.

4. You’ll figure out your due date.

You might have plugged your last menstrual period into an app to find your due date, but there’s more to it than that to get a reliable estimate of when your baby will be born. Your provider will ask you questions about your menstrual cycle and when you think you conceived. In most cases, they will recommend an ultrasound to establish your due date, and they will usually be able to offer the ultrasound right away.

5. Your provider will talk to you about routine and optional tests, and we’ll collect blood and urine samples.

Your provider will recommend routine tests, including blood type, a complete blood count, and screening for infection. They will also tell you about your genetic testing and prenatal screening options. For most people, there are only a few times in pregnancy when blood draws are needed, but your first visit is one of them.  If you’re feeling sick or strongly prefer to wait, that’s an option at Baby and Company. We can draw labs at your second visit if that’s your preference.

6. You’ll learn what to expect during the rest of your prenatal care.

You will go over the basic schedule of care, and the roadmap of visits and classes over the course of your pregnancy. You’ll get your Prenatal Notebook and have an opportunity to page through the book and look ahead to know what to expect at each of your upcoming visits.

7. You’ll review your options for birth.

Baby and Company offers three different options for birth: birth center with a midwife, hospital with a midwife, and hospital with an OB/Gyn. You’ll learn which options are safe for you and have an opportunity to ask questions about labor, birth, and postpartum mother-baby care. You also can learn about the different options at our regularly scheduled Birth Choices class and in your upcoming prenatal visits. Take your time deciding. You don’t have to make up your mind until your Birth + Postpartum Planning Visit at 36 weeks.

If you haven’t scheduled your first visit yet, contact us to get started!

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