First Trimester Doctor Visits
By Julianne Deveraux
Your first pregnancy visit to the doctor provides the occasion for one
of the most complete physical examinations a healthy person will ever
- The doctor or nurse will record your height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse rate.
- Be prepared to give the date of your last period in order to determine a due date.
- The doctor also will want to know about
your reproductive history (previous pregnancies, miscarriages or
abortions), any inherited disorders (which might be passed on to your
child), and any current and past illnesses.
- At your first
visit, the doctor will give you a general physical examination, paying
special attention to the heart, lungs, abdomen, and pelvis.
- You'll also have a pelvic examination, which allows the doctor to estimate the size of the uterus and pelvis.
First tests for mom
At your first visit, the doctor also will take blood samples to determine:
- Your blood count, to see if you're anemic.
- Your blood group, in case you need a transfusion.
- If you have HIV (AIDS) antibodies, which can affect your baby.
- The presence of sickle-cell anemia, thalassemia (a rare blood
disorder), or Tay-Sachs disease. (These tests are only for those at
- If you're immune to rubella (German measles), a disease that can be devastating if contracted early in pregnancy.
- If a sexually transmitted disease or hepatitis B is present.
More first tests
Scheduling future visits
- Urinalysis, which measures the protein and sugar in your urine.
This test will detect excess protein, which can be a warning sign of
- A cervical swab for those who have had herpes. If the herpes
virus is active before delivery, your doctor may suggest a cesarean
section to avoid the possibility of infecting your baby.
- A Pap smear to check the cells of the cervix for early signs of cervical cancer.
see your doctor every month until your twenty-eighth week. At that
point, you'll need a checkup every three weeks for several visits and
then every two weeks. After the thirty-sixth week, you'll be seeing
your doctor every week until your baby is born. Just for mom
sure to bring your partner to your twelfth-week visit, when you'll be
able to hear the baby's heartbeat. Your doctor will place an electronic
amplifying device called a Doptone on your abdomen. This instrument is
safe and can be used right in the doctor's office. (The heartbeat can't
be heard with a regular stethoscope until approximately twenty weeks.)
What you'll hear is an earnest little heart pumping at about 140 beats