The initial prenatal visit will include an extensive health exam and testing to ensure a healthy pregnancy. This will include your provider taking a medical health history to help predict any issues that may arise during pregnancy.
First Trimester Prenatal Appointments
Tests include checking the woman’s urine for any existing conditions, and blood tests to determine the mother’s and baby’s blood types, as well as check for any genetic disorders or other problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
All women should be screening for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which can be passed from the mother to the baby. If the woman tests positive for HIV, medication during pregnancy can reduce chances of the baby being born HIV-positive.
Specific prenatal tests to determine the baby’s health include ultrasound, blood tests and other screening tests to check for fetal abnormalities. The doctor will also address unhealthy lifestyle habits that can negatively impact the pregnancy (for both the mother and the baby), and discuss healthy lifestyle choices.
Your health care provider might ask about:
- Your menstrual cycle, gynecological history and any past pregnancies
- Your personal and family medical history
- Exposure to potentially toxic substances
- Medication use, including prescription and over-the-counter medications or supplements
- Your lifestyle, including your use of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine
- Travel to areas where malaria, tuberculosis, the Zika virus or other infectious diseases are common after the initial prenatal exam, subsequent visits are usually spaced about four weeks apart and are general check-ups so the doctor can monitor the progress of the pregnancy and answer any of the woman’s questions
Your prenatal appointments are an ideal time to discuss questions or concerns. Also find out how to reach your health care provider between appointments. Knowing help is available can offer peace of mind.