The First Pregnancy Checkup: Everything You Need to Know
One of the most exciting and unsettling medical appointments for expectant parents is the first pregnancy checkup. This is the first meeting with the OB/GYN after confirming through a pregnancy test that you’re expecting a baby. So, what should this appointment be like and what topics are discussed? In the following article, we’ll describe the points that you should take into account in this first visit.
After the absence of menstruation, it’s common for women to wait a few weeks before confirming if they’re indeed pregnant. After confirmation, the most important thing is to schedule the first pregnancy checkup with a gynecologist you trust to verify that everything is going well and to start with the pregnancy care that’s so important for the well-being at this stage.
What to expect from the first pregnancy checkup?
The first pregnancy checkup is usually between the 6th and 9th week of pregnancy, counting from the date of the last period. This is one of the most important appointments of the entire pregnancy, as it’s the starting point where the doctor confirms the status of the pregnancy, determines the due date, orders medical tests to be performed, and tells the mother what to take into account in order to promote the health of the pregnancy.
In the beginning, in this first pregnancy checkup, all the initial doubts you may have regarding this new stage are discussed; such as the foods and medications to avoid, the activities that aren’t a good idea to perform, and how to treat the possible common discomforts of the first trimester such as nausea, vomiting, pain in the belly and breasts, among others.
Similarly, the specialist will prescribe nutritional supplements such as folic acid, iron, calcium, as well as a vitamin supplement that allows a good formation and development of the central nervous system and skeletal muscle of the baby.
Medical history and laboratory tests
During the first pregnancy checkup, the doctor will be in charge of taking note of your medical history and conducting a physical examination that will guide them regarding your state of health and how it can influence the baby; and based on this, they’ll elaborate their intervention plan.
For this, they’ll ask questions regarding the family health history of both the mother and the father, important diseases, and surgical interventions. In regard to the gynecological area, they’ll inquire about previous pregnancies and previous miscarriages. They may also want to know about the mother’s lifestyle and diet; everything they consider relevant from their medical point of view.
To support this information and as a necessary procedure, they’ll assess the starting weight of the pregnancy and blood pressure, and will indicate a series of blood and urine tests. Among these are hemoglobin, blood group, and Rh factor of both mother and father; and antibodies for infections such as toxoplasmosis, rubella, hepatitis B and C, AIDS, and syphilis.
As for the urine test, it’s performed in order to verify if there’s no infection, in addition to observing if there’s the presence of protein or sugar. It’s usual for this test to be repeated periodically.
Approximate due date of the babies arrival
Another point to discuss in the first pregnancy checkup is the date on which the baby will arrive. This is a probable date, that is, it’s not exact, since only 1% of babies are born on this day.
To make this calculation, the doctor will use the exact date of the last menstrual period. With this date, they’ll calculate the current week of pregnancy and the probable date on which the baby may be born.
This date is estimated at week 40, and to calculate it, the gynecologist will use a gestogram; a wheel based on Naegele’s rule, which shows both the probable date of delivery and the calculation of the weeks of pregnancy.
Then, the pregnancy has a duration of approximately 40 weeks, and the baby can arrive between weeks 37 and 42, a few weeks before or after the date given by the gynecologist.
In this first consultation, the specialist will perform a transvaginal ultrasound to check if there’s indeed a pregnancy. This will show if the baby has formed inside the uterine cavity, if there’s an amniotic sac, and if it’s a single or multiple pregnancy. Depending on the week, the fetal heartbeat may be heard.
In this sense, this ultrasound verifies that there’s no ectopic pregnancy, that is, a pregnancy outside the uterus; or an anembryonic pregnancy where the embryo stops developing and is reabsorbed days after conception.
Importance of pregnancy control
When we talk about pregnancy or prenatal checkups, we’re referring to scheduled visits or contacts with the gynecologist and midwife in order to monitor the evolution of the pregnancy and intervene in a timely manner in case of any complication.
That’s why, from this first meeting, it’s important to be consistent, comply with the recommendations of the health professionals, and attend the scheduled checkups.
Starting with this first visit to the gynecologist, the checkups should be monthly until the 28th week; then, every two weeks until the 36th week, and then weekly until the baby is born. You should note that this depends largely on the health conditions of the baby and the mother.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Federación de Asociaciones de Matronas de España (2021). Primera visita en el embarazo. Recuperado de: https://www.federacion-matronas.org/2021/03/19/primera-visita-embarazo/
- Organización mundial de la salud. (2016). Recomendaciones de la OMS sobre atención prenatal para una experiencia positiva del embarazo. Recuperado de: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/49550/9789275320334_spa.pdf?ua=1