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Your first prenatal visit: what to expect & questions to ask

Your pregnancy test was positive, and you’re a swirl of excitement and questions. Now it’s time to schedule your first prenatal visit. Even if this isn’t your first pregnancy, your first prenatal visit is important because every pregnancy is different. At this first appointment, prenatal care includes a blood test, a physical exam, and conversations about your medical history.

Preparing for pregnancy: First trimester to-do list

What to expect at your first pregnancy appointment

Your first pregnancy visit will happen around eight weeks after your last menstrual period. This initial visit will be one of the longest because there’s a lot to cover, including:

  • Confirmation of your pregnancy: Even if you get a positive result on a home pregnancy test, your health care provider will do urine and blood tests to confirm you’re pregnant.
  • A physical exam: You’ll get a general health exam, checks of your blood pressure, height, and weight, and a pelvic exam.
  • Your medical history: Learning about your personal and family medical history will help your health care provider understand how to care for you during your pregnancy. 
  • Other tests and screenings: Your health care provider may order some additional tests to check your overall health and screen for genetic conditions.
  • Your due date: If you know when you conceived and the date of your last menstrual period (LMP), mention those dates to your health care provider. The pelvic exam will also inform the approximate date your baby will be born.
  • Chat about your plans: Your health care provider will be interested to learn about you, help you settle into being pregnant, and plan for the arrival of your baby.

You can get a head start on preparing for your pregnancy with this first-trimester to-do list!

When should your first prenatal appointment be? 

As soon as you think you’re pregnant, schedule your initial prenatal visit. This first appointment usually happens around eight weeks after your last menstrual period. 

Even if you have not yet chosen a health care provider for your pregnancy, it’s important to see someone to begin your prenatal care. Your due date might feel like a long way off, but your body is already experiencing a lot of growth and change.

How to make first prenatal appointment

The Mother Baby Center has an extensive network of providers through Allina Health who will be there to support you at every stage of your pregnancy. The Mother Baby Center provides care to families in three convenient locations: Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Coon Rapids.

The Mother Baby Center does not provide prenatal care; it is where you will deliver your baby. The health care providers in our network will care for you during your pregnancy and then deliver your baby at The Mother Baby Center, so making an appointment with a provider is a great place to start.

What happens at your first prenatal appointment?

Your first OBGYN appointment when pregnant will probably be your longest unless you encounter problems with your pregnancy. It’s essential to get a clear picture of your health from the start to provide the best care for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.

History: During your first OB visit, your health care provider will want to know about your entire health history, your gynecological health, and lifestyle habits, including:

  • The first day of your last menstrual period (to determine your due date) and the overall regularity of your cycles.
  • Current or past gynecological conditions, including sexually transmitted infections, and any problems you’ve noticed since your last period.
  • Details about previous pregnancies.
  • Current or past diseases or other medical conditions, mental health difficulties, past surgeries, or hospitalizations. 
  • Medications, supplements, vitamins and herbal drugs you take, and any known drug allergies.
  • Lifestyle actions, including smoking, drinking, and recreational drug use.
  • Family medical history to help watch for genetic issues and birth defects.

Exam: Your health care provider will do a thorough physical exam, including a pelvic exam. You will also have your urine tested and blood drawn to identify your blood type and look for other conditions to monitor or treat.

Lots of talking: Questions will be flying both ways! Your health care provider wants to learn about you and make sure you have the knowledge and resources to care for yourself and your baby during your pregnancy. You have so many questions, too – so make sure to ask them. This is a special and critical time for you and your baby.  

First prenatal visit questions to ask

This is your time to ask all of your questions and feel grounded in your plans for a healthy pregnancy. If you think of questions before or after your appointment, it may help to write them down. Some first prenatal visit questions you might be wondering about could include: 

  • What are common symptoms of pregnancy? What is uncommon?
  • Is there a nurse line to call if I have questions?
  • How much weight gain is healthy for me?
  • What foods and drinks should I avoid?
  • Can I exercise? Can I have sex?
  • What should I do in an emergency?
  • What are your thoughts about natural childbirth, Cesarean, and labor induction?
  • What medications do I need to avoid?

Of course, there are many more questions to ask! You should ask as many questions as it takes to feel informed and prepared to have a healthy pregnancy.

early pregnant woman on couch

Prepare for your first prenatal appointment

Make the most of your first appointment for pregnancy by doing some preparation. Jotting down some notes or thinking about your goals for the appointment can be helpful for those who are feeling nervous or anxious. Here are some tips to prepare for your initial prenatal visit:

  • Know the date of the first day of your last menstrual period. If you know the date your baby was conceived, bring that information, too.
  • Jot down notes about your physical and mental health history, as well as that of your family.
  • Bring a list of your medications, immunization records, and any other pertinent health information.
  • Bring your partner, a family member, or a friend with you. They can help ask questions, take notes and provide emotional support.
  • Make sure to bring your insurance card or money for co-pays. 
  • Check the clinic location and parking information before you go, so you have less stress when you arrive.
pregnant woman and husband holding her tummy

First prenatal appointment FAQs

Questions abound with the news you’re pregnant! And you won’t think of them all at once – or you may not even know what to ask, which is perfectly normal. Here are a few more common questions and answers you might find helpful for your first prenatal appointment.

What to wear to first prenatal appointment

Wearing a two-piece outfit is a good option for your first prenatal visit. This will allow you to lift your shirt to expose your tummy for the exam and ultrasound while remaining clothed from the waist down. You can also just undress from the waist down. 

Do you get an ultrasound at your first appointment? 

During an ultrasound, you can see your baby, which is exciting! Some health care providers will do an ultrasound during your first prenatal appointment, but each clinic does this differently. If you don’t have any medical problems or concerns, your health care provider might not do one. You can ask if this will be part of your appointment when you schedule it.

Do you learn your due date at your first appointment? 

Yes! While your due date isn’t a prediction of when you will deliver your baby, it is important to establish the date you will be 40 weeks pregnant, so your health care provider can monitor the baby’s growth and the progress of your pregnancy. Also, certain tests or procedures happen at different stages of the pregnancy. Very few women actually give birth on their due dates.

Find a provider who delivers at The Mother Baby Center

There is a lot to know about maintaining a healthy pregnancy and taking the best care of you and your baby. The Mother Baby Center looks forward to being your partner, caring for you and your baby every step of the way.

Our extensive network of providers through Allina Health will care for you during your pregnancy and then deliver your baby at The Mother Baby Center, so making an appointment with a provider is a great place to start. We look forward to meeting you!