Topic Overview

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.

Medical history

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.

Physical examination

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).

Urine tests

A urine test can check for:

Blood tests

Blood testing may include:

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.

Related Information



  1. Keenan-Lindsay L, Yudin M (2006). HIV screening in pregnancy. SOGC Clinical Practice Guideline No. 185. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 28(12): 1103–1107. Also available online:


ByHealthwise Staff
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
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMay 22, 2015