Missing a period or developing odd symptoms when you’re not ill can quickly lead to questions about whether or not you’re pregnant. Your first thought may be to rush and take a pregnancy test, especially if you’ve been experiencing nausea, vomiting, fatigue, breast tenderness, frequent urination, or food and smell aversions. There’s nothing wrong with doing so. Peace of mind is important.
However, you should still see a doctor if these symptoms occur around the time of a missed period or after a store-bought pregnancy test confirms your suspicions. The sooner you know that your symptoms are pregnancy-related, the earlier you can start taking measures to give your baby the best start in life.
What to Expect at Your First Doctor’s Visit to Confirm Pregnancy
The first prenatal appointment is important. In most cases, it takes place at least 6 to 12 weeks after a missed period. There are some situations where the first doctor’s visit to confirm pregnancy may take place a bit sooner or later. Every woman’s body and pregnancy is different. Much of what happens at the first appointment and afterward, is dependent on your choice of provider.
To prepare for the first appointment, write down any concerns you may have about your situation so you can bring them up when you talk to the doctor. Upon your arrival, you’ll need to complete patient paperwork and provide insurance information if applicable.
Prior to seeing the doctor, a medical assistant or obstetric nurse will take your vitals and weight and review your medical history. Depending on your situation, a urine or blood test and additional lab tests may be necessary to determine if you are pregnant and how far along you may be. If there are any special concerns about your possible condition, an ultrasound may also take place during that time as well.
The first appointment is a great opportunity for you to get to know your doctor or OB/GYN and discuss any concerns you may have about your condition. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other medical issues, your physician will inform you of special considerations that you may need to take. No matter how far along you may be by the date of your first appointment, prenatal care is beneficial.
Why Is Prenatal Care Important?
It is important not to overlook the importance of prenatal care. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing. However, it’s also a delicate and risky time for both mom and baby. According to the Office on Women’s Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, low birth weight and high infant mortality rates are 30 to 50 percent higher in women who forgo prenatal care during their pregnancies. Medical care during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to minimize complications and adverse outcomes.
As exciting as the thought of having a healthy baby is, prenatal care is a critical part of the journey to ensure both mom and baby are healthy. Pregnancy causes many expected and unexpected changes to the body. It is also a time of rapid growth development for the unborn child and new mother.
The benefits of prenatal care include:
- Guidance and clarity on how to care for self and the growing unborn baby
- Peace of mind and anxiety relief against the uncertainties
- Increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy
- Fewer complications risks during labor and delivery
Prenatal care is necessary to help catch and treat potential issues early. It’s also crucial, so preventative measures can be taken when needed as well. Seeing a doctor all throughout pregnancy is essential for the best outcome.
Prenatal appointments are scheduled in intervals all throughout pregnancy so the doctor can routinely assess the health, growth, and progress of the mother and baby. Appointments are usually initially scheduled at least four weeks apart. However, expectant mothers with certain conditions or who are considered high risk often end up seeing their OB/GYN care team more often. Also, appointments become more frequent during the later stages of pregnancy.
What Is Preconception Care?
If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant and growing your family, you should start by seeing your doctor for a preconception visit, in other words, a doctor’s visit before you even get pregnant. An OB/GYN can help guide you throughout this process by performing tests to determine any preexisting conditions or issues that may impact your ability to get pregnant and carry your child safely to term.
Benefits of preconception care include:
- Preventing nutritional deficiencies
- Detection of potential genetic risk factors
- Update immunizations
- Weight and dietary guidance
- Smoking, alcohol, and recreational drug cessation support
Getting proactive about pregnancy before it occurs is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. It’s never too early for you to start taking measures to ensure your health to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
In addition to seeing a specialist about preconception care, here are some actions you can take to prepare.
Lose excess weight. Pregnancy is a time of rapid weight gain for expecting women. Being overweight before pregnancy significantly increases the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, low birth weight, and other complications during and after pregnancy.
Take a prenatal vitamin. The body works much harder during pregnancy. Therefore it requires more vitamins and nutrients. If these levels are low prior to and during pregnancy, there’s an elevated risk of birth defects and developmental problems for the developing baby.
Exercise to stay active. Pregnancy can be tiring, and hormone surges can lead to food cravings and fatigue, which also contribute to maternal weight changes. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight during and after pregnancy. It helps to counteract poor moods as well.
Learn More About the East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital Family Birthplace
East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital Family Birthplace is committed to providing families with the exceptional and compassionate care they need before, during and after pregnancy. Our services include special bonding time exclusively for new parents and their newborns, breastfeeding support, narcotic and pharmacology-free pain relief options and more. Our experienced obstetricians and staff are here to help ensure positive outcomes for all.
Whether you’re thinking about getting pregnant, suspect that you might be, or are in need of a birthplace, look no further than East Los Angeles Hospital Family Birthplace.