Today, 80% of women with advanced degrees or doctorates have a child by the age of 44.
Yet in 2016, babies born to unmarried adolescent girls, ages 15 to 19 was at 89%.
Given the diversity of all expectant U.S. women, it is important to select the appropriate provider for your first prenatal visit. It is also pertinent to remember this person will also go on the journey of pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery with you.
But how do you find the right one?
Once you’ve taken a pregnancy test and received confirmation that you are pregnant it is time to search for an OB/GYN.
How to Search for the Right OB/GYN
Searching for the man or woman who will deliver your child can seem exciting and overwhelming.
But follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to schedule your first prenatal appointment:
Check your health insurance for providers
Ask those closest to you for referrals
Find out if you need a general OB/GYN or one with a subspecialty like Pediatric Gynecology
Make sure they are Board Certified
Consider hiring a doula to help you along your pregnancy journey
Everyone’s needs are different but finding the right doctor is possible. Remember to select someone whose beliefs match your own. After you have selected the provider you can ask when to schedule your first prenatal visit.
When Should I Schedule My First Prenatal Visit?
The hard part is over and you’ve found the doctor to deliver your baby.
You should schedule your first pregnancy appointment as soon as possible.
The prenatal visit will most likely occur at 4 to 8 weeks depending on when you confirm the pregnancy. By then your baby will have a heartbeat and you may have symptoms like morning sickness, headaches, or fatigue.
Therefore it is vital to get in to see your OB/GYN so he or she can make sure you and the baby are healthy.
In fact, you can make the process run smoother if you prepare for the office visit.
What You Can Do To Prepare for the Prenatal Visit
Your first pregnancy appointment or pregnancy confirmation appointment will include a urine test even if you took a home test.
A discussion will take place before your next visit which will be your comprehensive visit or IPG visit. You may get a prescription for your first ultrasound.
Expect your doctor to gather an extensive medical history during your IPG visit. Things discussed may include:
Family medical history
Birth control methods
Last Menstrual Period which creates your due date
History of abortions and/or miscarriages
Medications you are taking or medication allergies
Determine if you are high risk due to age and/or health issues
Bringing a list of this information can help and keep you from trying to remember which can extend your visit.
Once you feel you have all the written documents you will need, it is time to attend your appointment.
What Happens During My Prenatal Visit
Aside from collecting your medical history the medical assistant will take your vitals such as blood pressure, height, and weight.
After these preliminary steps are done exams and lab work will be performed.
Your doctor performs a breast exam, pap smear will be done.
Depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy and your provider, an ultrasound can occur during this initial visit or it may happen later on.
The lab work that will be drawn includes:
Rh factor and blood type
Complete blood count
Hemoglobin and Hematocrit levels
Hep B screen and possibly Hep C
TB depending on the person’s history or recently traveled abroad
Tay Sach’s screen
Sickle Cell prep screen
Cystic Fibrosis screen
Next, there will be a detailed counseling session of pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts. Many of the topics will revolve around lifestyle changes.
Pregnancy lasts for nearly one year. So it’s not surprising that it causes your daily routines to alter.
Specific things to review with your OB/GYN include:
Diet changes like cutting out caffeine and increasing water intake
Choosing the right prenatal vitamins
It is also important to bring specific questions as they are always welcome. This will also allow a rapport to develop between you and the doctor since you will be seeing each other for many months to come.
Some of the questions to ask are:
What type of genetic testing do you recommend?
When will they be done?
Can I continue taking my depression medication?
Is sex during pregnancy safe?
What are your thoughts about natural childbirth?
Will I need a C-Section?
How often will I need to see you?
The list of concerns for an expectant mother is endless. But it is wonderful when you feel comfortable to ask whatever comes up with your OB/GYN.
What Happens Next
Now that your first prenatal visit and IPG visit are drawing to a close you may be wondering when will you be back.
The follow-up appointments will occur every 4 weeks until you are 28 weeks. At 28-36 weeks you will come back every 2 weeks. From 36 weeks until delivery, you will come once weekly.
These appointments should be shorter depending on whether you are experiencing complications. However, if any complications arise then testing may be required. The medical assistant will take your vitals again. The doctor will also listen to the baby’s heartbeat. If an ultrasound has not been performed one may be requested.
Further genetic testing may be ordered such as Nuchal Fold Test (Down’s Syndrome), Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and Early amniocentesis.
But remember, having a baby is an exciting time and we are here to whether the process with you.
Ready to book your first pregnancy appointment? Contact us at Comprehensive Care Center.