Pregnancy: First Prenatal Visit

Overview

Your first prenatal visit will probably be the longest visit you'll have. Your doctor or midwife will take your medical history and do a complete physical exam. You may also have some tests. This will provide information that can be used to check for any problems as your pregnancy progresses.

Medical history

Your doctor or midwife will ask about your medical history. This helps your care provider plan the best possible care for your pregnancy and childbirth. Things you'll be asked about include:

  • Your menstrual history. This will include your age when you had your first period, whether your cycles are regular, and the date of your last period. Information about your last period is used to estimate your due date.
  • Your reproductive history. This includes:
    • Any previous pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, or stillbirths.
    • Problems with previous pregnancies.
    • Any problems with your reproductive organs.
  • Health problems in your family, such as heart disease or genetic conditions.
  • Your general health. This includes vaccinations, surgeries, and serious illnesses you have had. It also includes any current or past mental health issues, such as depression.
  • Any medicines you take regularly. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements.
  • Any habits that could affect your pregnancy, such as tobacco, alcohol, or drug use.

Physical exam

A complete physical exam may include:

  • Checking your weight and blood pressure.
  • A pelvic exam.
  • A Pap test (if you haven't had one recently).

Ultrasound

This may be used to confirm your pregnancy and to:

  • Estimate the due date.
  • Make sure the pregnancy is located in your uterus.
  • Check the number of embryos in your uterus.

Urine test

A urine test may be done to check for:

  • Sugar in your urine. This is a sign of gestational diabetes.
  • Protein in your urine. This is a sign of preeclampsia.
  • Bacteria in your urine. This is a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are common during pregnancy, and they may not cause symptoms. If not treated, a UTI may lead to a kidney infection.

Blood tests

You may have blood tests to check for:

  • Blood type. If your blood is Rh-negative and the father's blood is Rh-positive, your baby may have Rh-positive blood. That can lead to problems with Rh sensitization.
  • Iron deficiency anemia.
  • Immunity to German measles (rubella).
  • Syphilis.
  • HIV infection.

Other tests

You may have tests to look for other conditions, such as:

  • Hepatitis B infection. If you are infected, your baby will be treated within 12 hours of birth.
  • Genetic conditions that can be passed down through families. These include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Tay-Sachs disease.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. STIs during pregnancy have been linked to serious problems, including miscarriage and premature birth.
  • Thyroid disease. You may have thyroid tests if you have a personal or family history of thyroid problems.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 23, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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