What to expect at your first antenatal appointment?
The first antenatal visit should be scheduled soon after you find out that you are pregnant. Try to have your partner at the visit as this is the time when you can ask your healthcare provider the questions you have about your pregnancy.
Your doctor will ask you your medical history and other details about your health like
– Menstrual history – Details about your menstrual cycles, date of your last menstrual period (LMP) – This date is important and will help the doctor determine your gestational age and due date.
– Details about past pregnancies, if any and their outcomes
– Details about any medical conditions you have
– If you are taking any medications, your doctor will ask you details about them.
– Drug allergies
– Family medical history
– Lifestyle and personal history – use of any alcohol, tobacco or recreational drugs
– Your doctor will perform a physical examination
– Measurement of height weight and body mass index – This will help in determining your current health and recommend lifestyle changes.
– Measure blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.
– A general physical examination
– Cervical screening may be offered depending on when you did your last screening, orit may be deferred until after delivery
Blood will be drawn to check for various parameters
- Blood type and Rhesus factor
- Haemoglobin and haematocrit levels in your blood – Haemoglobin is an iron rich protein found in your red blood cells which helps in carrying oxygen to different parts of the body.
- Immunity to infections like chickenpox , rubella
- Detect other infections such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, C and HIV
– Your doctor may discuss with you the options for screening for chromosomal abnormalities
– An ultrasound will usually be performed or organised to confirm how many babies you’re carrying and the due date(s).
Your doctor will talk to you about various lifestyle changes. You can prepare a mental list of questions beforehand that you want to ask your doctor. Some of the commonly discussed ones are:
– Diet, nutrition and exercise.
– Prenatal vitamins and supplements
– Environmental hazards
– Precautions during travel
– Sexual practices
– Type of delivery – natural birth and caesarean
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.