Aug 08 - What to Expect First Prenatal Check Up

As soon as you know you’re pregnant, it’s vital that you book in your first prenatal check-up around 8 weeks after your last menstrual cycle. Whilst both a scary and exciting experience, it can be daunting if you don’t know what to expect. Here’s our guide to your first prenatal check-up:

Your medical history

Being prepared for your first prenatal check-up is important and this is also a great time for you to prepare any questions you may have about your prenatal care, your pregnancy or the birth.

When it comes to assessing your medical history, your doctor will need to know:

  • Whether you’ve had any medical or psychosocial problems
  • Your blood pressure, height and weight
  • Whether you’ve had a breast or cervical exam
  • The date of your last menstrual period
  • The method of birth control you’ve used in the past
  • Whether you’ve ever had an abortion or miscarriage
  • Your family’s medical history
  • Your allergies
  • Any medication you might be taking

At this stage, they’re also going to want to ask about the genetic medical history of the father of the baby in order to determine whether there’s any areas for concern.

Physical examination

Your doctor is likely to do a physical examination including, a pap smear, cervical cultures and potentially an ultrasound if there is any confusion around how far along you are or if you’ve experienced any bleeding or cramping.


Read More:
What are the Ways to Prevent Birth Defects?
5 Essential Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women
8 Tips on Managing Your Pregnancy While Working


Blood tests

They will then take some blood and send this away for testing to determine if you are a carrier of particular genes or if there is anything that is a cause for concern for you and the baby. As this stage, the laboratory will want to determine if your blood contains any of the following:

  • Rh factor and blood type
  • Rubella
  • A history of chicken pox, rubella or the hepatitis vaccine
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hepatitis B antigen
  • HIV

Other discussion points

Once your healthcare provider has completed the above, they will then want to discuss the following:

  • Recommendations around dental care, fish, raw meat and cats
  • Fevers and medications
  • Travel limits
  • Environmental hazards
  • Miscarriage precautions
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Diet, exercise and nutrition

They will also talk about genetic screening that can be done during your first trimester to identify serious conditions such as Down Syndrome and other chromosomal conditions. This is done in the form of a blood test after the 10 week mark.

You will also be told about carrier screening which is a blood and saliva test capable of identifying over 100 genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease.

Hopefully they will be able to answer the majority of questions you have and be able to provide you with a good idea on how to take care of yourself during your pregnancy, but if not then you should make sure to ask some questions.

You can then also begin to discuss your next prenatal appointment, birthing options, and potential issues during labour.