Once you find out you are pregnant, you should call your doctor right away to schedule an appointment. You may not be seen right away, but you will need to get it scheduled quickly. Whether you have a positive home pregnancy test or suspect you might be pregnant, you should be checked out by your obstetrician.
During the first trimester, you will most likely have just one appointment with your doctor, unless your pregnancy is considered a high-risk pregnancy or you have other medical conditions. While you may only see your obstetrician once during the first trimester, it is one of the most important appointments during your pregnancy, and also one of the longest. Expect to have the first appointment between 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy, sooner if you are considered high-risk. This first appointment will include a series of tests, and should also be the time when you ask any and all questions you have.
Tests and Screenings
The bulk of your first appointment will be going through tests and screenings, as well as questioning you about your medical history and that of your spouse or significant other’s. A personal medical history will be assessed, including any medical conditions you have, what medications you take and if you have had surgery before. You will also need to take the following tests:
- Lab Tests: A series of tests are performed during your first prenatal visit. This includes a complete blood count, blood typing, screening tests to look for sexually transmitted diseases, a screen to look for the rubella virus, hepatitis panel, syphilis test, screening for cystic fibrosis, urine analysis, and an HIV test.
- Ultrasounds: Your first prenatal visit will also include an ultrasound, which is done internally with a wand that uses sound waves to look at your uterus. This helps determine the position, size, and age of the fetus. Many women don’t hear the heartbeat at the 8-week ultrasound, so don’t be concerned if you aren’t able to hear it by this point.
- Rh Antibodies: Finally, an Rh antibodies test will be done during your first-trimester appointment. This looks for incompatible blood types between you and your fetus.
This seems like a lot of tests you need to undertake, but they only need to be done once in the first trimester in most cases. As your longest prenatal appointment, much of it involves tests, screenings, and paperwork. If you have anything unusual, like severe cramping or heavy bleeding, ask to be seen sooner than the typical 8-week mark.
< Pregnancy by Trimester