Congratulations on your pregnancy! Whether a shocking surprise or long-awaited news, you are about to begin one of life's most amazing processes. If you suspect or know that you are pregnant, contact your family physician or our office to schedule a blood pregnancy test. Not sure if you're pregnant? Read more about the symptoms of pregnancy.
Your First Appointment
If your blood pregnancy test comes back positive, typically your provider will schedule a first appointment to see you about eight weeks into your pregnancy (calculated by your lastmenstrual period). The first appointment may be overwhelming in the beginning, but it's a fairly simple process. While here, you will receive a wealth of information on nutritional guidelines, dates and testing suggestions that may seem impossible to keep track of. Your healthcare team is here to help ease your fears and guide you step by step as you begin the journey.
At your first appointment you will meet with a nurse who will ask you to provide a thorough personal and family medical history. This includes your own past pregnancies, gynecological history, medical conditions, medications and previous surgeries.
Typically, you are provided an ultrasound around 10 weeks to determine fetal age, but provider practices may vary.
At your second appointment a general examination will take place. Your physician or midwife will examine the pelvis to note the size and age of the fetus and to check your bone structure.
A little further along, some mothers may receive blood screenings for diseases or opt to get genetic testing to detect possible inherited diseases. Learn more about common tests and procedures during your first trimester.
While your first appointment may not be until you are a few weeks along, you should start on prenatal care immediately. Here are a few suggestions to begin with:
- Supplement your nutrition with vitamins containing folic acid. A healthy amount of 400 micrograms (.4 milligrams) will help reduce the risk of your baby developing defects and aid in proper development.
- Stop smoking! If you cannot, begin to reduce smoking frequency. Smoking can significantly hinder appropriate fetal growth and development. Susquehanna Health offers a smoking cessation program for those looking to quit.
- Do not drink alcohol. This may result in your child developing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and can put both the newborn and mother at risk.
- Avoid contact with strong chemical agents like solvents, paints and fumes and avoid fish that may be contaminated by mercury, such as swordfish, tilapia and shark.
Read more about preparing for a healthy pregnancy.