Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests

Learn how your doctor will confirm your pregnancy—and what else will happen at your first prenatal visit.


-The moment of-- when you first discover you're pregnant is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened and so I tell my patients to call me right away. The reason I do that is I remember so clearly that moment of joy and excitement and how much I wanted to talk to someone and so I wanna bring them right in. Most practices wait until 8 weeks because it isn't really until 8 weeks that you can say for sure that the pregnancy is healthy, and growing, and you can measure, and you can see all of these things. There are basically 2 jobs at the first pregnancy visit. One is to check that mom is healthy and that her blood work is normal and healthy for pregnancy and to other is to check that the baby is there and that the baby is growing. My custom for the first visit just sort of good medical practice is to do a full exam of the patient head to toe at the first visit and that would include a pelvic exam. So, pelvic exam, a sonogram, blood tests, and lots of talking. Early, early pregnancy, the only way to get close to the baby is with a vaginal ultrasound. Later, as the baby gets bigger, then you can look through the stomach because the baby is closer and higher up in the stomach. Patients are always very, very worried about the transvaginal ultrasound. It's not such a big deal. It's really no different than a Pap smear. It's a very skinny narrow probe that goes in the vagina and just briefly angles in different directions to find the baby. It doesn't hurt. This is the time when the doctor holds her breath and the patient holds her breath and what you really wanna see is a tiny little dot inside a black space that is the baby. So, you see a black circle of fluid and you see a tiny little dot inside and then in the tiny little dot inside, you can see a flickering heartbeat.

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