The first visit to a midwife or OB/GYN is often when the idea of being pregnant and expecting a baby begins to set in for most mothers. It is an exciting experience but also a very important one.
If you are a first-time expectant mother you’re likely having more questions daily. What can you eat? How much weight should you gain? What is normal and what is not?
Your practitioner is there to answer all your questions and help put your mind at ease by providing you with reassurance as to what you can expect and how you can prepare.
When should you visit an OB/GYN or midwife?
If you have taken a home pregnancy test and the test says that you are pregnant, one of the first things you should do is schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN or a midwife. Ideally, your first appointment should be before 10 to 12 weeks as there are some tests that should be done within the first trimester, such as screening for common genetic conditions.
What happens during an appointment?
Your first antenatal appointment will last an average of around an hour. In this time your OB/GYN or midwife will run some tests, ask you some questions, open the floor for you to ask all the questions that you have and, probably the most exciting part of all, you will be given a sneak peek of your growing baby through an ultrasound scan.
Your practitioner will ask you an array of questions including details of your medical history, family history, prior illnesses, sexual activity, and lifestyle – it’s a good idea to make some notes beforehand so you don’t forget anything.
Many of these questions are likely to be very personal but it is important that you answer them truthfully and be as detailed as possible. The more information you can provide, the better prepared both you and your practitioner will be for your pregnancy journey.
Your OB/GYN or midwife will check your weight, height and blood pressure; they’ll do bloodwork, urine tests, and a pelvic exam.
How many follow-up appointments should you have?
The number of follow-ups will depend on whether your pregnancy is high- or low-risk. Naturally, if your pregnancy is a higher risk one, it would be recommended that you go for more frequent appointments.
Most practitioners will advise between 10 to 14 visits throughout your pregnancy if you’re low-risk. Generally, it’ll work like this:
If anything is worrying you, you don’t have to wait until your next appointment to ask – contact your practitioner, that’s what they’re there for.