What to Expect at Your First Prenatal Visit

Every doctor does the first prenatal visit a little differently. Sometimes you’ll meet with the doctor or midwife, sometimes you’ll meet with a nurse or physician’s assistant.

Typically, the first visit will include, but isn’t limited to, the following components:

  • A health history, including previous pregnancies, surgeries, major illness, etc
  • A family health history – your family and the father’s1
  • A physical exam, a pelvic exam, a Pap test
  • Lab work, including blood and urine2
  • Calculation of your due date; this is usually done based on your last monthly period (LMP); if you don’t know your LMP other methods can be used
  • Discuss your lifestyle, including your stress level, any alcohol or tobacco or other substance use, activity level, etc
  • Answer any questions you have

Subsequent visits often include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Routine test to monitor for the possible development of complications
  • Blood pressure and weight checks
  • Fundal height (checking the size of the uterus)
  • Opportunity to ask questions

What a regular prenatal visit schedule looks like:3

Before 28 weeks              Monthly

Weeks 28 to 36                Every 2 weeks

Week 36 to birth              Weekly

References

  1. Baby Center. (n.d.). What to expect at your prenatal visits | BabyCenter. Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/0_what-to-expect-at-your-prenatal-visits_9252.bc
  2. Women’s Health. (2015). Prenatal care and tests | womenshealth.gov. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/prenatal-care-tests.html#b
  3. University of Minnesota. (2009). Schedule of Prenatal Care | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved from http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/holistic-pregnancy-childbirth/schedule-prenatal-care