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Prenatal Care: 1st Trimester Visits

Pregnant woman making a heart with hands

Source: Thinkstock

Prenatal Care

When you’re expecting, regular prenatal visits can ensure your pregnancy is progressing as it should and that your growing little one is developing as appropriate so you can welcome him or her in nine months.

One of the most exciting prenatal visits is the first one. This usually doesn’t happen quite as fast as you may think. When you have taken a positive pregnancy test, call your obstetrician to let him or her know that you are expecting. Your doctor will typically recommend making an appointment when you are about eight weeks’ pregnant or eight weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period. If you’re unsure when that time would be or if you have had pregnancy complications in the past, your doctor may have you come in earlier.

The Eight-Week Visit

While the average first trimester visit can vary, there are a few typical events that can occur during the first visit. These include:

Taking your health history.

Your doctor will use the first day of your last period to estimate your baby’s due date. You’ll also need to disclose any chronic health conditions you may have, medications you currently take, and any past surgeries or hospital stays you may have had.

Educating on healthy steps to take.

The first trimester is often the most pivotal time in a baby’s development. For this reason, your doctor will discuss with you important healthy practices to follow. These include avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol as well as refraining from taking many medications known to harm developing babies.

Your doctor will also talk about pregnancy symptoms and what to expect during the remainder of your first trimester. He or she will review symptoms you should call your doctor if you experience. This is a good time to ask your doctor any questions about pregnancy issues, such as morning sickness.

Taking blood tests.

A number of blood tests are available to test for genetic disorders in your baby. Some of these can happen as early as 10 to 12 weeks. While they aren’t always done as a rule, your doctor may recommend them if you have a history of genetic disorders in your family.

Your doctor will draw your blood to test for the following:

  • Your blood type
  • Your hemoglobin level
  • Testing for the presence of certain medical conditions, such as hepatitis B and syphilis.

Conducting Imaging Studies

Your doctor may use imaging technologies to help you hear and/or visualize your baby. An example is an ultrasound. An ultrasound provides a two-dimensional (flat) image of your baby. While your baby is developing arm and leg buds at this time, later ultrasounds will likely reveal images that look more like a baby. Your doctor may also use a Doppler device to allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat. This is a special moment that can start to make your pregnancy feel even more “real.”

After this visit, you’ll return in about a month to see more of your growing baby.

The Austin Diagnostic Clinic is proud to provide obstetric care to expectant moms. For more information about our services or Dr. Matthew Romberg, please visit ADC Obstetrics and Gynecology or call (512) 901-1111.