Your Baby Today

Pregnancy

First Trimester Doctor Visits

First Trimester Doctor Visits

Your first pregnancy visit to the doctor provides the occasion for one of the most complete physical examinations a healthy person will ever have.
  • 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 risk.)

  • 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 

  • Urinalysis, which measures the protein and sugar in your urine. This test will detect excess protein, which can be a warning sign of preeclampsia.

  • 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.

Scheduling future visits
You'll 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
Be 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 per minute.

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About The Author

Julianne Deveraux travels frequently between Atlanta and Boston as a freelance writer and Your Baby Today contributor.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.


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