Pregnancy: First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit is likely to be more extensive than later prenatal checks. Your doctor will take your medical history and do a complete physical exam.
Your medical history helps your doctor plan the best possible care for your pregnancy and childbirth. It includes:
- Your menstrual history, including your age when menstruation started, whether your cycles are regular, and the date of your last menstrual period.
- Your reproductive history. This includes:
- Any previous pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, or stillbirths.
- Problems with previous pregnancies.
- Any problems with reproductive organs.
- Family health conditions, such as heart disease or genetic defects.
- All vaccinations, surgeries, and serious illnesses you have had.
Your complete physical exam will include:
- Weight and blood pressure measurement.
- A pelvic examination to confirm the pregnancy.
- A Pap smear (if not done recently).
A Reference urine test can check for:
- Sugar, a sign of Reference gestational diabetes Opens New Window.
- Protein, a sign of Reference preeclampsia Opens New Window.
- Bacteria, a sign of Reference urinary tract infection (UTI) Opens New Window, which can be present without symptoms. UTI is common during pregnancy and, if untreated, may lead to kidney infection.
Blood testing may include:
- Reference Blood typing Opens New Window (A, B, or O, and Rh factor). If you are Rh-negative and the father is Rh-positive, your fetus may have Rh-positive blood, which can lead to problems with Reference Rh sensitization Opens New Window. For more information, see the topic Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy.
- Reference Complete blood count (CBC), which checks Reference hemoglobin Opens New Window and Reference hematocrit Opens New Window to make sure you don't have Reference iron deficiency anemia Opens New Window.
- Checking for immunity to German measles (Reference rubella Opens New Window).
- Checking for the sexually transmitted disease Reference syphilis Opens New Window. This blood test is called a venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis early in pregnancy.Reference 1, Reference 2
- Testing for the Reference human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is done only with your consent or request. Early detection and treatment lowers the chance that the baby will get HIV from the mother. The Reference U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Opens New Window and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all pregnant women be screened for HIV infection to help prevent fetal infection.Reference 3
You may also be screened for:
- Reference Hepatitis B Opens New Window. If you have a hepatitis B infection, your baby will receive the hepatitis vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) within 12 hours of birth.
- Diseases that are passed down through your family (Reference genetic disorders Opens New Window). You may want to have a screening
test if you or your partner has a family history of genetic disorders or if
certain genetic disorders are more common among people of your racial or ethnic
background. Screening tests for genetic disorders include those for:Reference 4
- Reference Sickle cell disease Opens New Window, which is most common in people of African descent.
- Reference Tay-Sachs disease Opens New Window, which is most common in people with an Ashkenazi Jewish, Cajun, or French Canadian background.
- Reference Cystic fibrosis Opens New Window, which is most common in people with a Caucasian, European, or Ashkenazi Jewish background.
- Reference Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) Opens New Window. STIs during pregnancy have been linked to miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth. Many doctors routinely test for the sexually transmitted infections Reference gonorrhea Opens New Window and Reference chlamydia Opens New Window. If test results show that you have an STI, your doctor will discuss treatment with you.
- Thyroid disease. Many women have Reference thyroid tests done if they have a personal or family history of thyroid problems.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 23, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology