Your First OB/GYN Appointmentby Katlyn Joy
You've done the home pregnancy test. Perhaps multiple home pregnancy tests and have come to the unmistakable conclusion; you are pregnant. After telling the important people in your life and shedding tears, hopefully of joy, it's time to call your ob/gyn or family physician to begin your prenatal care.
Typically, women should see their health care provider around 8 weeks after that first missed period. However, there are exceptions such as for women who haven't seen an ob/gyn in some time, those who have a chronic medical condition and women who experienced difficulties with previous pregnancies. If you are currently experiencing symptoms such as bleeding, cramping, or severe pain or vomiting you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible no matter how many weeks along you think you may be.
A big part of the first prenatal visit will be gathering a comprehensive medical history from you. Your doctor will want to know among other things, what birth control methods you've used, details of your gynecological background such as when you began menstruating, how regular your periods are and how long they tend to last, if you've ever been pregnant before and the outcome, what was the first day of your last period, and any gynecological problems such as sexually transmitted infections, infertility problems and other conditions. Physicians will especially want to know if you've been pregnant before, experienced miscarriage or had an abortion, and if you have a history of ectopic or tubal pregnancies.
Other medical history your physician will want to know includes what medications you take whether prescription, over the counter and any medical conditions you have. They will also want to know your allergies, history of surgeries or hospitalizations, mental health history, and family medical history such as conditions or genetic disorders or pregnancy or labor problems.
Any history of drug or alcohol abuse will also be asked about as well as casual alcohol use and smoking.
You will be weighed, height measured, your temperature and blood pressured checked, and will have a complete gynecological exam including a pelvic and breast exam. A PAP smear will be done as will a cervical culture for Chlamydia and gonorrhea, and it's possible an ultrasound may be performed if symptoms such as bleeding or questions of due date are problematic.
A pregnancy test will be done regardless of home pregnancy test results. Typically it will be a urine test but blood work will be done as well. The urine will also be examined for infection. Blood work will determine your blood type, if you are Rh negative or positive, check for anemia, Hepatitis B, syphilis, and see if you're immune to Rubella and chicken pox. The blood work will also screen for cystic fibrosis, Tay Sachs disease, Sickle cell and HIV.
Discussing Pregnancy and What to Expect
Your physician will likely prescribe a prenatal vitamin, and if you are anemic an iron supplement, and will discuss nutrition and diet in pregnancy. If you smoke you can expect to be counseled to stop or at the least, cut back during your pregnancy. You'll be advised to avoid alcohol completely, and avoid caffeine too. Your physician will likely advise you on what medications, including over the counter ones, are safe for you to take and which you should avoid. If you take prescription medications it will be determined if it's safe for you to continue taking them or if a safer alternative is advised.
You will be advised about what is safe to do and what should be avoided, such as what exercise if safe and what is dangerous in pregnancy, when you should avoid sexual activity, and what symptoms you can expect in the coming weeks.
Your physician will tell you how often you'll be coming in for visits, and what symptoms are considered an emergency, which require a phone call during office hours, and which ones warrant a trip to the ER.
A general overview of the pregnancy is provided and time for you to ask questions will be provided as well. You should plan to write down questions and concerns before each visit and bring some paper and pen to jot down notes on things your doctor tells you at visits.
You should take down the numbers for the office, for after hours emergencies and the hospital ER number as well.
You will schedule your next appointment before leaving this one, as well.
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