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.
- 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.
- 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: http://www.sogc.org/guidelines/documents/185E-CPG-December2006.pdf.
Other Works Consulted
- American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2007). Antepartum care. In Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th ed., pp. 83–137. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2004). Screening for Rh (D) incompatibility. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsdrhi.htm
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2006). Screening and supplementation for iron deficiency anemia. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsiron.htm.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2008). Screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsbact.htm.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Counseling and interventions to prevent tobacco use and tobacco-caused disease in adults and pregnant women: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspstbac2.htm.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for hepatitis B virus infection in pregnancy: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 150(12): 869–874.
Current as ofSeptember 5, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: September 5, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology