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What to expect at your first prenatal visit

Prepare for your first pregnancy appointment with your OB/GYN or midwife.

June 24, 2024
A doctor and a pregnant patient standing while looking at a tablet in a patient room.

A positive pregnancy test can bring a mix of emotions — and a lot of questions. Are my pregnancy symptoms normal? Who should I see for care? When do I get an ultrasound?

Choosing where to give birth, along with a prenatal care provider such as an OB/GYN, is your first step. Then, you can call to schedule your first pregnancy appointment. Thankfully, regular prenatal care helps you feel confident as you progress through your pregnancy. It also helps keep you and your baby healthy. 

When to schedule your first pregnancy appointment

Call your OB/GYN or midwife as soon as you notice pregnancy symptoms or think you’re pregnant. Most of the time, you’ll have your first appointment around week six or eight of your pregnancy unless your provider asks to see you sooner. 

What happens at your first pregnancy appointment

“Your first prenatal visit is usually the first time you’ll get to see your baby on ultrasound! Very often, this will be the day your pregnancy truly begins to feel real,” says Dr. Aliese Smith, an OB/GYN with HCA Florida Healthcare. “Feel free to express your concerns to your obstetrician. Your doctor will be your guide on a life-changing journey. Your first prenatal visit is also a good time to make sure you feel comfortable with your doctors and their staff.”

During your first prenatal visit you can expect to:

  • Provide a urine or blood sample. You likely will have already taken an at-home pregnancy test, but your provider will have you take another test at your first prenatal appointment to confirm you’re pregnant.
  • Review your medical history. Your doctor will ask questions about your health history and lifestyle habits. It’s important to answer honestly. We’ll use this information to calculate your due date, see what you may be at risk for during pregnancy and define ways to keep you and your baby healthy.
  • Complete a prenatal exam. We’ll take your vitals, including your weight, height and blood pressure, do a physical exam and listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
  • Talk with your doctor. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions at every prenatal visit, including your first visit. It can help to write down questions in advance. Some questions you might ask at your first visit include:
  • What can I do to help with uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms?
  • What food, drinks and medications are safe during pregnancy?
  • Are there any limitations with lifestyle habits, such as exercise?
  • Do you have any recommendations for prenatal vitamins? 
  • What should I consider for labor and delivery?
  • Who can I call if I have questions or concerns?
  • What resources are available if I am concerned about transportation or having enough food or baby supplies?
  • What’s next? 

Schedule future prenatal visits

After your first prenatal visit, you’ll schedule regular prenatal care appointments. Typically, you’ll have:

  • Monthly visits until week 28
  • Biweekly visits from week 28 through week 36
  • Weekly visits from week 36 to birth 

People with high-risk pregnancies may have visits more often. 

At most visits, you’ll listen to your baby’s heartbeat and discuss any issues or questions with your provider. You’ll also explore your birth preferences, which you can summarize in a birth plan. 

Confidence before, during and after birth

With any pregnancy, whether it’s your first child or fourth, you want to be confident, not only in the prenatal care you receive, but also labor and delivery services and postpartum support. 

As one of the largest healthcare providers in the state, our extensive network is home to everyone from OB/GYNs and midwives to high-risk pregnancy doctors and neonatologists. Find an OB/GYN here. 

June 24, 2024

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