Pregnancy: First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit is likely to be more extensive than later prenatal checks. Your health professional will take your medical history and do a complete physical examination.
Your medical history helps your health professional 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 examination will include:
- Weight and blood pressure measurement.
- A pelvic examination to confirm the pregnancy.
- A Pap smear (if not done recently).
A urine test can check for:
- Sugar, a sign of gestational diabetes.
- Protein, a sign of pre-eclampsia.
- Bacteria, a sign of urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be present without symptoms. UTI is common during pregnancy and, if untreated, may lead to kidney infection.
Blood testing may include:
- Blood typing (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 Rh sensitization. For more information, see the topic Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy.
- Complete blood count (CBC), which checks hemoglobin and hematocrit to make sure you don't have iron deficiency anemia.
- Checking for immunity to German measles (rubella).
You may also be screened for:
- Hepatitis B. 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 families (genetic disorders). Screening tests for genetic disorders include those for:
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs during pregnancy have been linked to miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth. Many health professionals routinely test for the sexually transmitted infections gonorrhea and chlamydia. If test results show that you have an STI, your health professional will discuss treatment with you.
- The sexually transmitted infection syphilis.
- The 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 Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends that all pregnant women be screened for HIV infection to help prevent fetal infection.footnote 1
- Thyroid disease. Many women have thyroid tests done if they have a personal or family history of thyroid problems.
- Depression. Not treating depression can cause problems during pregnancy and birth. To find out if you are depressed, your health professional will ask you questions about your health and your feelings. For more information, see the topic Depression During Pregnancy.
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 30, 2016
Current as of: May 30, 2016
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.