You just found out your pregnant congratulations, this is an exciting time for you!! What you need to do next is schedule your first doctor visit if you haven’t already. If you are a little nervous about what to expect at your first doctor visits during your pregnancy then keep reading. I have it all here for you by trimester so you aren’t wondering how things are going to go at each appointment.
For information on what else you should do after finding out you are pregnant here is an article you may find very helpful What You Need to Do When You Find Out You are Pregnant
If you’re like me going to the doctor makes you feel a bit anxious especially when you aren’t sure what they are going to do at each pregnancy visit. Not to mention all the other thoughts running through your head questioning whether your actually pregnant or if you have some kind of health condition. Don’t worry this is normal for most moms to think about especially if you have been trying to get pregnant and don’t want to be disappointed if your not.
This is an ultimate pregnancy guide with everything you need from start to postpartum that you might find this article very helpful Pregnancy Tips For First Time Mom’s
Here is your appointment timeline broken down for you into sections from the first appointment to last appointment, I hope that this will make you feel less anxiety and give you a clear picture of what to expect during your doctor during your pregnancy.
First Prenatal Appointment
At your first doctor visit which usually occurs between 6 and 8 weeks, you will talk to a nurse and take a confirmation pregnancy test just to be sure you are pregnant. I know waiting for this first appointment is so hard because you want to know right away what is going on with your baby and a confirmation that you are indeed pregnant.
I think all of us question this when we first find out because we need more proof and aren’t super confident even if we took three tests, it just doesn’t feel real until that first doctor visit during your pregnancy to confirm for yourself that you are pregnant.
The nurse is also going to ask you a lot of family history questions and your medical history as well so they know what to keep an eye on or what tests they need to do to make sure you and the baby are doing well. Also, you will need to figure out when your last period was so she can figure out approximately when your baby will be due.
She will also answer any questions you have and give you a new mom welcome bag full of coupons for maternity and baby items as well as prenatal vitamins and resources that you may need during your pregnancy.
She will talk to you about taking a birthing class as well, I know it’s a bit early but they fill up fast and have to be scheduled way in advance!
First Trimester Prenatal Visit
At your next appointment, you will see your doctor for a general exam and a whole bunch of tests to make sure things are going well. You will get a pap smear unless you had one already this year, along with a urine test to look for protein in your urine.
You will have blood work done to check your RH status, measure your hemoglobin (check for anemia), blood sugar test, check immunity to certain infections (unless you have your vaccine record) and check for other infections (syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and AIDS).
You will most likely get an ultrasound to see how far along you are which is so comforting when you don’t feel pregnant yet or think it could be too good to be true!
You may be asked if you want to have tests done for down syndrome and other genetic problems, you don’t have to do these if you don’t want to. We opted to not have them as they do pose a risk for miscarriage and we have no history of problems. If you do have a history you may want to consider these so you can be more prepared to handle any problems later on and have a plan.
During your first trimester, you will be seeing your doctor every 4 weeks unless you have a medical condition that requires you to be monitored more frequently. They will always weigh you and do a measurement on your belly to make sure things are going well along with a urine sample for protein.
Your doctor will talk to you about any concerns you may have and any lifestyle issues you are dealing with such as smoking, nutrition or anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything at this time, your doctor can help you feel more comfortable with being pregnant how to deal with pregnancy symptoms. If you really don’t like your doctor or feel like your not open to ask questions then it is time to look for a new OB before you are too far along.
At 12 to 14 weeks you will get an ultrasound to tell you what the sex of the baby is (if you want to know of course) woohoo this is the moment most moms are waiting for, you get to see your little peanut for the first time on the screen as they move all around. Be prepared to cry haha, it is a bit emotional plus you are pregnant with the crazy hormones. I cried when we found out we were having a boy, I was so excited about it and always wanted a little boy and so did my husband.
Second Trimester Prenatal Visits
Starting weeks 13 to 27 you will still be going to the doctor once a month unless you have a medical condition and need to be seen more. Your doctor will talk to you about previous issues brought up in the last appointment and answer any new questions or concerns.
You will have measurements taken, be weighed, take blood pressure and give a urine sample. Your doctor will ask about fetal movement throughout the day and if you are having any spotting, bleeding, leaking amniotic fluid or having contractions.
You will get to hear your baby’s heartbeat again which is so precious, I loved hearing it whenever they used the portable Doppler (my baby always ran from it haha, he was a stinker) to listen.
An Ultrasound may be done at 16 to 20 weeks or near the end of your second trimester to take measurements on your baby and make sure everything is developing correctly. Some women have 3 ultrasounds during pregnancy. My doctor only did two when I was pregnant, one early in the first trimester and one in second trimester close to the third. It all depends on your medical history and what your doctor thinks is necessary.
Now is the time when they will do an amniocentesis if you decided that you wanted to have one to check for genetic abnormalities. They use a long needle and go in through your belly to get a sample of amniotic fluid which then gets tested for these abnormalities. It does have a slight risk for miscarriage but does help you prepare better though so if you really want to know I would go ahead and find out!
If you are wondering about what you need to do in your 2nd trimester to get ready for baby read these blog posts I wrote that will give you all you need to get through symptoms and also has a to-do list so you don’t forget anything along the way Everything You Need to Know About 2nd Trimester Pregnancy Pains, Your Ultimate 2nd Trimester To Do List
Third Trimester Prenatal Visits
The third trimester is one of the hardest ones to go through, you are past a lot of the tests and are starting to lose room in your stomach for food and are more uncomfortable as you go through each day. I wrote an article about dealing with symptoms that you may want to read, Third Trimester Symptoms and How to Deal With Them.
If you are not sure what you need to get done in your third trimester I also have an article with a To Do List you may be interested in reading The Complete Third Trimester To-Do-List.
When you are 28 to 36 weeks you will be seeing your doctor every 2 weeks to monitor you and the baby, take measurements, weight, blood pressure, and a urine test. They will do a physical exam and look at your hands and feet and ask how you are doing.
You can talk about any symptoms you are having like fatigue, pain, swelling, contractions and any questions you may have for your doctor. At these doctor visits during your pregnancy, you will be asked how much your baby is moving and if you feel they aren’t moving as much as they should be. I had to go on a monitor for an hour because our baby wasn’t moving around as much, it was a little scary but it turned out that he was fine.
You will get a group B strep test which involves a swab to your vagina and rectum, sorry it’s a TMI but I want you to know all the details so I’m not leaving anything out. You also will need to get a dap vaccine for whooping cough along with your spouse, this is important to have to protect your little one as it can be spread very easily and is life-threatening to an infant.
At 36 weeks you will start seeing your doctor once a week up until birth, this is the time your doctor will check your cervix and see if it is softening and dilating. You will also do the standard tests of weight, blood pressure, measurements, and a urine test.
These last doctors visits during your pregnancy you may want to talk about what goes on during labor and delivery and any other questions you have, just so you are more informed and know what to expect.
When you are close to your due date your doctor may decide to do a membranes sweep to get things rolling and put you into labor hopefully. This involves an internal exam and your doctor gently but firmly running a finger around the opening of your cervix, usually, this will separate the membranes of the amniotic sac and releases a hormone called prostaglandins which may kick start your labor. FYI it does hurt a little bit and you may bleed a tad afterward also.
If your wondering how you will know that labor is going to happen soon, here is an article on the signs to look for 8 Early Signs of Labor That You May Not Know that you may find helpful, as well as one on what labor feels like and how you know you are in labor Signs That Your Labor Has Started| What You Need to Know. I know the first time is scary and you feel you may be in labor and not know it but trust me your mom in stinks will kick in and you will know.
Final Thoughts on Pregnancy Doctor Visits
It is very important to be comfortable with your doctor during your pregnancy if at any time you feel they don’t listen to you or aren’t on the same page as you it may be time to look for someone else.
Having a doctor you can trust while your pregnant is the number one thing you need right now, you may find that having a doula is better and make a switch. It is best to find these things out early on so that you can spend more time getting to know your health care provider and being confident that they are going to have your best care in mind.
I hope after reading this post you feel a lot more informed on what is going to happen at your doctor visits during your pregnancy, once you know the process and how things go it isn’t as scary to go through pregnancy.
If you haven’t prepared for postpartum yet here are two great articles you may be interested in readingPostpartum Essentials Every New Mama Need, to get you going on your postpartum must haves and a timeline on what to expect during postpartum Postpartum Recovery Timeline| What to Expect.
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