But What If I Have Pain Or Bleeding
If you have pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy, call your clinic immediately. It doesnt always indicate a problem with your pregnancy, but it is important that we see you quickly. Visit your nearest emergency room if the clinic is closed. Its hard not to panic in these situations, but try to stay as stress-free as possible for you and your babys overall health.
What Happens At Later Prenatal Care Checkups
Later prenatal care checkups usually are shorter than the first one. At your checkups, tell your provider how youre feeling. Theres a lot going on inside your body during pregnancy. Your provider can help you understand whats happening and help you feel better if youre not feeling well. Between visits, write down questions you have and ask them at your next checkup.
At later prenatal care checkups, your health care provider:
So When Should I Go To The Doctor For Pregnancy For My First Appointment
If you believe youre pregnant and have taken a home pregnancy test that gave a positive result, you can call your doctor to schedule your first appointment. At your first visit, you will be administered a pregnancy test to officially confirm your pregnancy. If youre unsure about the reliability of your home pregnancy test, it is a good idea to make an appointment anyway so that you can get proper confirmation.
Typically, you should go to a doctor for pregnancy for your first prenatal exam between 6 and 8 weeks after your last period. However, you should go to the doctor for pregnancy-related appointments or at least call to speak to a physician, at any point if you have any doubts or concerns.
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Information That Will Help You
Your midwife or GP will give you information during this appointment to help you keep healthy and ensure you have good support and care.
- help to stop smoking or drinking alcohol
- advice about healthy eating, exercise and weight gain expectations
- letting you know which vitamins and minerals you should take or avoid during pregnancy
- referrals to support services or professional help if you need them
- answering questions about issues that worry or concern you
- letting you know if you have a higher risk pregnancy and what can help reduce or remove this risk
Occasionally, a pregnancy starts off normally but develops a problem later so the relevant information may not be available during this first visit. It’s always a good idea to remain flexible.
What To Do Next
Now that you know what to when you suspect you are pregnant and when to contact your primary care doctor or obstetrician/gynecologist, what happens next? If youre in Cooke County, Texas, you contact the North Texas Medical Center to set up all your prenatal care. We specialize in everything from prenatal care to labor and delivery to maternal newborn care and beyond. Our womens health specialists and state of the art facilities will give you and your baby the best care. We also can provide you with education and are always happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today to set up your appointment.
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Typical Ob Appointment Schedule
Over the course of your pregnancy, you might start to feel like you live at your doctors officeand thats a good thing. Studies show that mothers who visit their doctors regularly during pregnancy deliver much healthier babies on average. Scheduled doctor visits will of course vary depending on your OB and your own physical state, but these general guidelines should give you an idea of what to expect:
4 to 28 weeksOne visit per month
28 to 36 weeksTwo visits per month
36 weeks to deliveryOne visit per week
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Prepare For My First Pregnancy Appointment
To help ensure your visit goes as smoothly as possible, try taking the following steps.
Review your medical history. Brush up on your health status so you can better answer questions. This includes information about your:
- Overall physical and mental health
- Current and past diseases, conditions and other health issues
- Current medications, including prescriptions, supplements, vitamins and herbal supplements and teas
- Fertility and pregnancy history
- Family medical history
- Partner’s medical history
If possible, bring documentation along, such as immunization records or a list of your medications. You may even want to tote a baggie containing the medications themselves.
Take your partner, a family member or friend. Another person can write down notes, ask questions, and provide emotional support during this information-dense first visit.
Get there on time or a little early. This can be helpful for filling out forms and reviewing your insurance status. Make sure to bring your insurance information and cash or a credit card for any necessary co-pays. And of course, follow all office COVID-19 policies regarding your arrival, check-in, and clinic visit.
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When Should I Schedule My First Prenatal Visit
Right after you receive a positive home pregnancy test, book an appointment with your obstetrician, family physician, or midwife. Depending on your practice, advanced practice providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants may also handle your first prenatal visit.
If you haven’t yet chosen a healthcare provider to care for you during your pregnancy, it’s still important to see someone now to start your prenatal care. You can always switch to another provider later.
Find A Healthcare Professional That Best Suits Your Needs
Who you see for your prenatal check-ups depends on what type of care you want, where you want to give birth and if you have any health complications to consider. You couldcall your family doctor first, but you may want to book directly with a midwife or an OB/GYN because theyre often in high demand. Generally, most healthcare practitioners recommend that you book your first prenatal appointment at around eight to 10 weeks.
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Prenatal Visit Schedule: First Trimester
This is such an exciting time in your life! When you saw the positive pregnancy test, you were probably four to six weeks pregnant, so go ahead and call your doctor to schedule your first appointment.
During the first trimester, you will have your initial prenatal visit, and then your doctor will schedule your visits every four weeks or once a month.
Check with the doctor or staff for a printout of your prenatal visit schedule.
Choose A Caregiver And Make Your First Appointment
If you opt for private care then you have a few choices to make. Who your prenatal caregiver will be is a highly personal choice, whether its an obstetrician, GP or midwife.
Your first appointment is usually scheduled for around the eight week mark. The heartbeat is usually visible from six weeks, or two weeks after the missed period, and many doctors will schedule the first appointment after this, says Dr Zinn.
When it comes to government hospitals, youll need to go to the one nearest to where you live. Or you can visit a Midwife Obstetric Unit if there is one nearby.
Either way, you will most likely give birth with the help of a midwife, unless your pregnancy runs into complications. In this situation you will be transferred to an academic training hospital. At your first appointment you will get your clinic card.
This card will be filled out at each appointment and must remain with you throughout the pregnancy. When given an appointment date, make sure to stick to it as there are long waiting lists if you miss one.
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How To Start Trying To Conceive
Your healthcare provider might have specific recommendations for the best ways to increase your chances of overlapping sex with the time of your cycle when youre the most fertile: the five days leading up to and the day of ovulation .
Depending on your healthcare provider, they might mention tracking ovulation to identify your fertile window. You can do this by monitoring ovulation test results, cervical mucus, or basal body temperature . You can absolutely ask for your healthcare provider to walk you through each of these methods, but heres a refresher in case youre curious now:
- Ovulation testsdetect luteinizing hormone in your urine, which surges about 24-48 hours before ovulation. Other than an ultrasound, ovulation tests are one of the most accurate ovulation predictors because they rely on the biological factors that are directly involved in the eggs release.
- Cervical mucus trackinginvolves looking at the changes in the fluid produced by your cervix to pinpoint where you are in your menstrual cycle.
- BBT trackinguses your basal body temperature to identify natural changes that indicate ovulation has occurred. Note that BBT is affected by a whole host of factors, making body temperature alone not a super accurate marker of ovulation.
Questions to ask:
How Should I Prepare For A Prenatal Visit
In the weeks before each visit, jot down any questions or concerns in a notebook or a notes app on your smartphone. This way, you’ll remember to ask your practitioner about them at your next appointment. You may be surprised by how many questions you have, so don’t miss the opportunity to get some answers in person.
For example, before you drink an herbal tea or take a supplement or an over-the-counter medication, ask your provider about it. You can even bring the item itself or a picture of the label with you to your next appointment. Then, your doctor, midwife, or nurse practitioner can read the label and let you know whether it’s okay to ingest.
Of course, if you have any pressing questions or worries, or develop any new, unusual, or severe symptoms, don’t wait for your appointment call your practitioner right away.
In addition to your list, you may want to bring a partner, friend, family member, or labor coach with you to some or all of your prenatal visits. They can comfort you, take notes, ask questions, and help you remember important information.
What Will I Talk About With My Practitioner At Prenatal Care Appointments
A good portion of doctor visits during pregnancy are about advice and support. During each prenatal appointment, your practitioner should:
- Ask how you’re doing physically and emotionally
- Answer all of your questions
- Offer tips on caring for yourself and your baby-to-be
- Give you a heads-up about changes to expect and red flags to look for before your next visit
As for your role in this relationship, you should strive to show up for every prenatal appointment armed with questions and details on any changes in your health. Faced with new information and tests at every visit, many moms-to-be forget what they wanted to ask or share so write down anything you want to tell your doctor or midwife.
Who Will I Work With At My First Prenatal Appointment
Midwives are registered nurses with an advanced degree in midwifery. Our midwives offer continuous, holistic support during pregnancy and birth. They specialize in medication-free labor support for low-risk pregnancies. However, they are also able to offer pain medication and collaborate closely with OB/GYNs to address any complications that arise.
OB/GYNs provide prenatal care for both low- and high-risk pregnancies, including caesarean sections. Family practice physicians care for patients of all ages, and some are also trained to provide prenatal and delivery care. Some also do cesarean births and manage high-risk pregnancies. We also offer a shared care model, where patients work with their family medicine physician for prenatal care and then an OB/GYN or midwife delivers the baby.
Patients who would like to work with a Certified Nurse Midwife for prenatal care as well may meet with the midwife as early as eight weeks after the first day of their last period and may not have an initial phone visit with a nurse this varies by location.
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Start As Early As Possible
Contact our office to arrange your first prenatal visit as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed. While most women start their prenatal visits at about eight weeks of pregnancy, we may recommend that you begin your visits earlier if your pregnancy is considered high-risk due to:
- Advanced maternal age
- A history of pregnancy complications
- Symptoms such as abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding
Your first appointment is typically longer than other prenatal visits. It includes a comprehensive physical exam, pelvic exam, and medical history. You may also have a Pap smear and other tests such as a blood test, STD test, and urine test.
At this early stage of pregnancy, we give you lifestyle guidelines, such as maintaining proper nutrition, exercising daily, and taking prenatal vitamins to support your health and the healthy development of your baby.
How Many Antenatal Appointments
Your doctor or midwife will give you a plan of appointments at your first pregnancy visit. This might change as your pregnancy progresses.
If you find out youre pregnant within the first six weeks of pregnancy and you have a low-risk pregnancy, youll probably have around 10-12 appointments with your doctor or midwife during your pregnancy if its your first baby.
You might have around 7-10 appointments if youve had a previous pregnancy with no complications.
Many women have visits every 4-6 weeks until 28 weeks of pregnancy, then visits every 2-3 weeks until 36 weeks of pregnancy. After this, youll probably have weekly or fortnightly visits until birth.
The number and timing of pregnancy appointments could be more or less than this, depending on your health and your babys health. For example, if you have a high-risk pregnancy you might have more pregnancy appointments. Your doctor or midwife will talk with you about the appointments you need and why.
Some women experience high levels of worry or stress during pregnancy. Seeing your midwife or doctor more frequently can help with managing stress or other concerns during pregnancy. You can ask your midwife or doctor about whether more pregnancy appointments might be good for you.
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Routine Visits And Tests During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, there are a number of tests that are performed to check the health of you and your baby. Below outlines the most common schedule of visits and routine tests we perform as part of your overall obstetric care.
- First Visit – 26 weeks: Visits usually every 4 weeks
- 26 weeks – 32 weeks: Visits usually every 3 weeks
- 32 weeks – 36 weeks: Visits usually every 2 weeks
- 36 weeks and beyond: Weekly visits until you deliver
Each visit will include a urine dipstick, blood pressure and weight check. After 20 weeks, your belly will be measured to determine the appropriate growth of the baby. The doctor or midwife will listen to your baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler at each visit after 12-14 weeks.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or complications during pregnancy, your schedule and tests will be different from those outlined below. Make sure you follow the schedule as determined by your doctor or midwife.
What Changes To My Body Can I Expect During My Pregnancy
Theres no getting around it your body will change a lot during your pregnancy. Youll go through lots of hormonal changes, and youll get bigger as the fetus develops. Your uterus will grows up to 18 times its normal size, and your breasts and nipples will probably get larger, too.
Its normal to gain up to 35 pounds during your pregnancy, and some people may gain more. Your sex drive can increase or decrease throughout your pregnancy. And some people notice changes in the texture and amount of their body hair.
Unfortunately, almost everyone feels uncomfortable at some point in their pregnancy. Some common issues include:
nausea or vomiting, especially in the morning
swollen and tender breasts
aches and pains in your lower back and hips
tiredness and fatigue
There are things you can do to feel more comfortable, like changing your diet, and doing certain exercises. Your doctor, nurse, or midwife will have tips for feeling better during your pregnancy.
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What Happens At The First Prenatal Visit
This will probably be the longest of your prenatal appointments unless you encounter problems with your pregnancy along the way. At this and all future visits, don’t be afraid to raise any issues you’ve been wondering about. If questions come up between checkups, it may help to keep a running list.
Here is what your provider will likely do during the first prenatal visit.
Take your health history. Your provider will ask several questions about your gynecological health, personal medical history, and lifestyle habits. Topics commonly covered include:
- Whether your menstrual cycles are regular and how long they tend to last
- Current or past diseases and conditions
- Past surgeries or hospitalizations
- Mental health difficulties and diagnoses
- Whether you are being or have been abused, or have another situation that could affect your safety or emotional well-being
- Smoking, drinking, and drug use
- Medications, supplements, vitamins, and herbal drugs you take
Your healthcare provider will also ask about your family medical history. Many genetic issues and birth defects are at least partly hereditary, so learning about your family history helps your medical team keep an eye out for potential issues. Let your provider know whether a relative in either family has a chromosomal or genetic disorder, had developmental delays, or was born with a structural birth defect. Also important to mention: potential exposure to toxins, especially if you live or work near toxic materials.