Congratulations on your pregnancy! Here's what you can expect from your very first visit to the doctor's office.
Will your baby be a Taurus or a Gemini? You'll find out at your first prenatal exam, when your obstetrician will calculate your official due date. The exam, which is typically scheduled around week 9 or 10, will likely include the following:
- Complete medical history. Your doctor will ask about your health, details of any past pregnancies, your partner's health, and the health of your family and your partner's family.
- Physical exam. Your height, weight, and blood pressure will be measured and recorded. Your doctor will discuss any chronic health problems you may have and how they will affect or be affected by your pregnancy. She will perform a complete physical exam that includes checking your thyroid and breasts and listening to your heart and lungs. She will also perform an internal exam, checking your cervix, ovaries, vagina, and uterus.
- Calculation of your due date. Your due date is based on the date of the start of your last period. An average pregnancy is 40 weeks (280 days) from the first day of your last normal menstrual period (LNMP). (Keep in mind that 40 weeks is average. A normal pregnancy can last anywhere from 37 weeks to 42 weeks.) If your periods are irregular or you don't know your LNMP, then your due date will be based on your earliest ultrasound.
- Laboratory tests. See "Common Prenatal Lab Tests" (above) for the kinds of tests your doctor may perform. Most are performed by analyzing blood or urine samples.
- A discussion about genetic testing. Depending on your medical history and ethnic background, your doctor may talk with you about doing tests for cystic fibrosis; Tay-Sachs and Canavan disease (if you're an Ashkenazi Jew); and sickle-cell anemia if you're black.
- A schedule for future appointments. Ask your provider about upcoming tests and when you should schedule your regular appointments.
- Prenatal vitamins. Ask your provider for a prescription, if you aren't already taking them. Or head to a local drugstore to buy prenatal vitamins over the counter. Ask the pharmacist if you aren't sure which kind to buy.
- Healthy-pregnancy information. Your doctor may give you advice or a handout sheet about diet, exercise, weight, and over-the-counter medications that are safe during pregnancy. You may also get contact information for when your doctor's office is closed.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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