If you suspect or are sure that you are pregnant, it is best to immediately schedule an appointment, ideally with your partner.
First appointment – The first appointment will be quite detailed. The first thing your doctor would do is to make note of your medical history. Your doctor will ask several questions regarding your menstrual cycle and gynecological history, past pregnancies, personal and family medical history, medications and lifestyle. It is very important to be open and honest so that it helps your doctor to best assess your prenatal care needs. Your doctor will discuss normal discomforts of pregnancy such as nausea, tenderness and swelling of body parts. Lifestyle habits suitable for first trimester of pregnancy such as nutrition, exercise, sex during pregnancy will also be recommended by your doctor.
Your doctor may conduct a physical exam to check for height, weight, blood pressure and heart rate. A first trimester screening is testing for diseases or conditions in a fetus before it is born. Screening tests tell you your chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or structural abnormality such as an open neural tube defect. Blood tests and an ultrasound, are done starting at 11 weeks of pregnancy.
Screening tests cannot tell you for sure whether or not your baby has one of these three conditions, only the chance of this. To find out for sure, you would have to decide whether to have a diagnostic test
In the first trimester you may also have to take a blood test to check for blood type, hemoglobin levels, thyroid levels and tests to determine exposure to certain infections.
Generally for your first pregnancy, you will be recommended 10 hospital visits, provided there are no complications. If you already have a child, you will need 7 visits.
Your Obstetrician may recommend more frequent visits if there is any variation in the way your pregnancy is progressing.