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What Goes on at the First Prenatal Visit After Pregnancy Is Confirmed?

by Maria Magher

A positive home pregnancy test can be a joyous occasion. However, since home pregnancy tests can sometimes give false positives, it's important to schedule a doctor's appointment to confirm the happy news. The first prenatal visit usually takes place between the 8th and 10th week of pregnancy. At this appointment, your pregnancy is confirmed with a urine test, and you'll undergo a series of other physical checks, tests and questions about your health.

Physical Exam

After administering a urine test to confirm your pregnancy, your doctor gives you a physical exam. This includes measuring your weight, height and blood pressure. She may also give you a pelvic exam, including a pap smear, to check your cervical health and assess the size of your uterus. It's unlikely that you will receive an ultrasound at your first visit, but your doctor may use a Doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. However, she may perform an ultrasound if you have risk factors, such as problems with previous pregnancies.

Blood Tests

Your first visit includes a blood draw so that your doctor can run various tests. These tests may include determining your blood type, your blood count, your platelet count and your Rh factor. "Rh factor" refers to whether or not you carry the Rhesus protein. The National Institutes of Health says that if you are negative but the father is positive, your pregnancy would require special care. Your doctor also tests you for sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, and may recommend genetic testing for disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Your urine sample is also be tested for signs of infection.

Health History

Your doctor takes a complete health history at your first prenatal visit to determine if you have any risk factors for your pregnancy. For example, she may ask about any health conditions you may have now or had in the past, any diseases or health conditions your family members have or had in the past, any previous pregnancies you've had and any vitamins or medications that you are currently taking. It's important to provide your doctor with as much information as possible, since your health history could affect the kind of treatment you need during your pregnancy.

Information About Pregnancy

Your first prenatal visit ends with your doctor giving you information about what to expect over the course of your pregnancy. This includes information about how many prenatal visits to expect, what kind of diet you should follow, foods and other substances to avoid, guidelines for exercise and sleep, and recommendations (or a prescription) for prenatal vitamins. Your doctor may give you an official due date. At some point in your visit, you might also meet with a financial representative who can give you information about what expenses your insurance covers and what other financing options you have.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

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