Prenatal Care-What To Expect On Your First Visit

As soon as a women thinks she is pregnant, she needs to get a prenatal exam.  Regardless if she chooses a personal physician, obstetrician, or nurse-midwife, prenatal care is very important for monitoring the health of the mother and the baby.  Good to include the partner in the process.  The doctor needs to obtain a medical history.  Details about the mother’s menstrual cycle,contraceptive use, past pregnancies, and allergies are questions that can be expected.  Establishing a due date allows the healthcare provider to monitor the baby’s growth as accurately as possible.  The healthcare provider should perform a physical exam.  This will include weight, height, and blood pressure.  The heart sounds should be assessed to determine the mother’s overall health. A vaginal exam should be performed to check the uterus and cervix for any infections, or abnormalities.  The cervix and uterus can help confirm the state of pregnancy.  Blood test will more than likely be performed to determine the mothers blood type, and Rh factor.  Blood tests can also reveal whether or not the mother has been exposed to any infectious diseases such as syphilis, measles, mumps, rubella, or hepatitis B.  Test for HIV may be performed, as well as test for chickenpox or toxoplasmosis immunity.  Urine analysis can determine if there are any urinary or bladder infections, or kidney disorders.  The health care provider needs to stress the importance of nutrition, prenatal vitamins, exercise and any other lifestyle issues.  Need to discuss home and work environment.  Discuss smoking, alcohol, and drug use during pregnancy.  These can have adverse affects on the fetus.  Screening test for fetal abnormalities can be performed.  These test can give valuable information about the baby’s health. Ultrasounds are normally ordered, as well as blood test or other screening test can be performed.  These test are just the beginning. Make sure that follow up exams are kept.  This will insure the best outcome for the mother and the baby.

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