Prenatal Doctor Visits – Scheduling and What You Can Expect
Why are prenatal care checkups important?
Regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy helps to catch potential concerns early and reduces the risk of pregnancy and birth complications. As soon as you suspect you are pregnant, make an appointment with your medical provider or OB/GYN.
This article covers common topics scheduling prenatal care visit, what to expect at prenatal care doctor visit, prenatal care checkups, and questions for prenatal care visit.
Scheduling Prenatal Care Visit & First Prenatal Care Visit
Scheduling Your First Prenatal Care Visit
The first prenatal care visit usually takes place in the second month of pregnancy, between week 6 and week 8. It is important to schedule a prenatal doctor visit as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant and have taken a pregnancy test. Scheduling a prenatal care visit may require booking in advance, however, some practitioners will be able to fit you in right away. Certain medical providers and OB/GYN offices also offer an earlier “pre-OB” visit to confirm a pregnancy as soon as you think you’re expecting.
During pregnancy, regular checkups are very important. This consistent care can help keep you and your baby healthy, spot problems if they occur, and prevent problems during delivery. Typically, routine checkups occur:
- Once each month for weeks four through 28
- Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
- Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
Women with high-risk pregnancies need to see their doctors more often.
Searching for “Prenatal Care Wichita” or “Prenatal Care Doctors Wichita?” HealthCore Clinic in Wichita, KS has a diverse women’s health team and prenatal care team including OB-GYN Care, Family Medicine providers, Wesley Family Medicine residents, and a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CCNM). We offer comprehensive checkups throughout your pregnancy to help keep you and your future baby healthy.
Starting prenatal care early in the first trimester can help give your baby the best start to a healthy future. In addition to our experienced and caring nursing staff, some of the services we offer as part of our prenatal care include:
- In-House Ultrasound Available
- Discounted Fees for Self-Pay
- Insurance Application Assistance
- Routine Behavioral Health Consultations
- Baby Talk Education Classes
- Newborn Care
- Baby Talk and Healthy Babies Classes
- Birthing Classes
First Prenatal Care Visit & Questions For Prenatal Care Visit
Preparing for Your First Prenatal Visit
Once the date of your prenatal doctor visit is on your calendar, do a little preparation to make the most of your first prenatal care visit. If you are wondering what to expect at a prenatal doctor visit, these tips are a great way to help you prepare:
- Make a list of key health facts. Your practitioner will want to discuss all the details of your medical history, so check your records at home or call your primary care doctor for a refresh. Come prepared with at least some basics about:
- Bring your personal medical history. Immunizations you’ve had, previous major illnesses or surgeries, known allergies including drug allergies.
- Bring your mental health history. Any history of depression, anxiety disorder, or other mental health disorders
- Your gynecological history. Your age when you got your first period, details about your cycle, whether you have problems with PMS or PMDD, prior gynecological surgeries, history of abnormal Pap smears or STDs
- Your obstetrical history. Previous pregnancies, including pregnancy complications or losses and details about previous deliveries
- Potential disease exposure. Any contagious diseases you may have been exposed to (say, if you traveled abroad recently or work in health care)
- Take stock of your medicine cabinet. Your OB/GYN, doctor, or midwife will also want to know the names and possibly the dosages of any medications and supplements you take (herbs and vitamins included).
Find out about health conditions that run in your and your partner’s families. Learn what illnesses your family has a history of, so you can clue in your practitioner from the beginning.
Be sure to write down any questions and bring them to your prenatal doctor visit. In the excitement of that first prenatal appointment, lots of moms-to-be forget to ask the burning questions that have been keeping them up at night — so make a list of them beforehand (and don’t forget to bring it with you).
Check out our article: “4 Prenatal Care Tips for Expecting Mothers,” which covers some of the common questions expecting mothers have about pregnancy and helpful prenatal care tips such as:
- When to schedule a prenatal checkup
- What to expect at a prenatal checkup
- Healthy foods for expecting mothers
- Staying physically active during pregnancy
Questions to Ask Your Doctor at Your Prenatal Checkup
Questions for prenatal care visit?
You will probably have a lot of questions regarding your pregnancy in your first prenatal checkup appointment. It is the doctor’s job to answer these questions for you and ensure you are comfortable upon completion of your prenatal care visit. Below we are giving you just a few of the most common questions asked in prenatal care visits.
- What lifestyle changes do I need to make immediately?
- What things am I at risk for given my personal history?
- What will the frequency of my appointment be?
- What vitamins do I need to take?
- What exercise can/should I be doing?
- How much weight should I gain?
- What about prenatal testing?
- What should I start considering to prepare my birth plan?
What To Expect at Prenatal Doctor Visit
What to Expect at Prenatal Visit
During your prenatal care checkups, your doctor may discuss many issues, such as healthy eating and physical activity, screening tests you might need, and what to expect during labor and delivery. Practitioners also have their own to-do lists for the first prenatal appointment. Here’s what to expect:
- You’ll get a check-up. This may include a general health exam (checking your heart, lungs, breasts and abdomen); measuring your blood pressure to serve as a baseline reading for future appointments; noting your height and weight; a look for varicose veins and swelling as a baseline for future visits; a pelvic exam; and an assessment of the size of your uterus and the size and shape of your pelvis.
- You’ll get a confirmation of your pregnancy. Even if you got a positive result on a home pregnancy test, your practitioner will repeat a urine test and do a blood test to check your hCG levels.
- You’ll undergo other tests. Some tests are routine for every pregnant woman, some are routine in some areas of the country, and some are performed only when necessary. The most common tests at your first prenatal visit include:
- Urine test. Your urine may be checked for protein, glucose (sugar), white blood cells, blood and bacteria.
- Bloodwork. A sample of your blood will be used to determine blood type and Rh status and check for anemia. Your blood will also be screened for antibody titers (levels) and immunity to certain diseases (like rubella and chicken pox) and possibly for vitamin D deficiency.
- Genetic carrier screening. If you weren’t screened before conception, a blood draw also tests for whether you’re a carrier for the more common genetic conditions, including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, Tay-Sachs disease and others.
- STD tests. Your doctor may screen for sexually transmitted infections like hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV.
- Pap smear. Just like you get at your annual appointments, to screen for abnormal cervical cells.
- A blood sugar test. You may get this test if you had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy or if you’re at higher risk for gestational diabetes (for example, if you have a family history).
- You’ll get an official countdown. If you know when you conceived and the date of your last period (LMP), make sure to mention it. Your OB/GYN or midwife will calculate your due date using your LMP, a check of your cervix and uterus for signs and approximate gestational age of the pregnancy, your hCG levels, and, most likely, an ultrasound.
- You’ll chat about yourself and your baby. To give you the best possible care, your practitioner will want to know a lot about you. The first prenatal appointment is the time for your practitioner to get up to speed on your health history and fill you in on how to care for yourself and your growing baby, as well as address any concerns you have (this is when that list of questions comes in handy). It’s helpful to take notes; your doctor or midwife is sure to share plenty of info you’ll want to remember (and moms-to-be are notoriously forgetful).
Many practitioners do a prenatal ultrasound during the first visit, which is an accurate way of dating a pregnancy. However, some doctors prefer to wait until a later, when there’s more to see.
HealthCore Clinic is unlike most medical offices you’re familiar with. Patients are more actively engaged in improving their health through a team-based approach. We encourage you to become a partner with your prenatal care team to manage your care. Be sure to keep all of your appointments — each one is important! Ask questions and read to educate yourself about this exciting time.