OB-GYN: The First Pre-Natal Appointment
Your first prenatal appointment with the OB-GYN is routinely around six to eight weeks of pregnancy depending on your doctor’s protocol and your insurance provider. The first appointment will be mostly for the doctor to gain information about you; the more your doctor can determine about your health history, the better equipped he/she is to provide a safe and smooth pre-natal experience for you and your baby.
If you are considered “at-risk” it is important that you tell your OB-GYN during that first phone call. In this situation, you should be seen as soon as possible, and you should consider a doctor who specializes in such cases. Some high risks include previous early miscarriage, history of ectopic pregnancy, previous difficulties in carrying a baby to term, and a history of high order multiples.
Expect to fill out what will seem like excessive paper work involving your health history, your family history, and your insurance information. Nothing is too minimal to mention. You will most likely have blood drawn at your initial appointment for the purpose of checking for blood type, glucose, infection, and disease. All of these things can affect the health of your baby, so be forthcoming with information. Women with these difficulties are perfectly capable of giving birth to health babies.
A urine sample confirming your pregnancy will be given at this appointment, and expect to give a urine sample at all subsequent appointments to check for protein and glucose. Your due date will be calculated at this initial appointment, and, unless you have recently undergone one, you will have a pap smear and pelvic exam. For a lot of patients, pre-natal appointments seem too focused on the mother rather than the baby, but keep in mind that at this point in life, you are your baby’s home, and, just as you will certainly child proof your home in anticipation of bringing the baby into it, your body needs to be the safest home it can be for your baby right now.
At this point, your OB-GYN should discuss protocol with you telling you how to reach him, reasons to call, how often to expect appointments, and when to expect those exciting milestones like hearing the heartbeat and getting an ultra sound. You will see your physician once a month until approximately your twenty-eighth week of pregnancy, twice a month until week thirty-six, and every week thereafter until delivery. Before you are discharged from the hospital, your doctor will see you again discussing what to expect during healing and giving you any needed prescriptions. You will see your doctor one last time for a six week post-delivery check up. OB-GYNs are available for regular gynecological care as well, and you should continue to see this or another gynecologist annually for optimal heath care.
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