From the moment you started trying for a baby, you were reading all the early symptoms of pregnancy and how to catch it before your missed period. You’ve taken the time to research a great OB and even where you want to deliver, and feel you have everything under control. Finally the day of your first prenatal appointment has arrived, and your a bundle of nerves as you wait for the practitioner to come into the room.
Every woman has been there, not really sure what to expect for these visits, or what type of tests will be needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy; but we are going to break it down for you to ease some of your worries.
Usually your first OB visit will be around 10-12 weeks along. At that first appointment they will do a pap smear and give you a lab slip to do initial blood work. If you are far enough along, they may even do the doppler so you can hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. You may be required to pee in a cup for this visit as well. The blood work they test for initially are the following:
– Sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV.
– Immunity to certain diseases, including rubella titers (a sign that you are immune to German measles) and varicella (chicken pox).
– Vitamin D deficiency, possibly.
– Your blood type, in the (very unlikely) event that you need a transfusion at some point.
– Your Rh factor; Rh incompatibility with your baby can be dangerous if it’s not detected, but it’s completely treatable if you happen to be among the 15 percent of women who are affected.
– Genetic risk for cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, hemoglobinopathy and possibly other genetic diseases at your doctor’s discretion if you weren’t screened before conception.
– Your blood sugar if you are obese or are known to have had diabetes. This can also be in the form of a 1-hour glucose test, so make sure to read the lab slip.
Around 12 weeks, you will have an ultrasound, and this is to check for down’s syndrome. If you are over 35, your insurance may cover a NPIT (Noninvasive prenatal testing) as you are considered advanced maternal. This will take the place of the ultrasound in some cases. This blood work is also able to tell you the sex of your baby (if you want to know).
Your 20 week ultrasound is the best appointment, as you get to spend some time with your little one for an anatomy scan. If you want to know the sex of your baby this is when they can give you that, if you did not find out from a NIPT test.
At around 26 weeks, you will do a diabetes screening. This is a 1 hour glucose test where you drink a sugary drink and sit for an hour at the lab. They will draw your blood before and after. If you pass, you’re good to go. If not, you will have to return for a 3-hour test where they draw your blood 4 times (fasting and once an hour).
For the first and second trimester, you will see your OB once every 4 weeks. Starting around 30 weeks (third trimester) you will begin going every 2 weeks until 36 weeks. At 30 weeks you will also get the TDap immunization which is for whooping cough.
After 36 weeks they will bring you in for weekly monitoring and they will begin you check your cervix for dilation until it’s time to deliver your little bundle of joy.
I hope seeing this breakdown puts your mind at ease for all your appointments to come.