What to expect at your first prenatal appointment

Getting a positive pregnancy test is so exciting. What’s next? Your first prenatal appointment of course. Read on to find out what to expect at your first obgyn appointment as well as when it will be. If this is your first rodeo, or if it’s been a while that first prenatal visit can be a bit nerve-wracking. Now you’ll know just what to expect!

first prenatal appointment

None of the information in this post or on this website should be used in place of medical advice. These are simply my opinions and insights based on experience and research. Always consult your healthcare professionals if you have concerns.

When to go to the obgyn when pregnant

My first pregnancy I called as soon as 2 lines appeared on that pregnancy test, only to be told congrats, we’ll see you in about a month. Unless you have a history of miscarriages or fertility issues they likely will not schedule your first appointment until you are 8-10 weeks along.

Before you call, try to figure out the first day of your last period. This is actually what’s used as the start date for your pregnancy. Weird that it starts before conception actually occurs but that’s how they do it. You may start experiencing first trimester symptoms before your appointment. Take note of anything you are concerned about and if your nausea is really bad call back and see if they can see you sooner.

Why do I have to wait so long? Miscarriages are most frequent in the early stages of pregnancy. You generally can’t even hear a heartbeat until 6 weeks. There is little a doctor can do to help you have a successful pregnancy at this stage, unless you are getting treatment for fertility issues. There is simply not really a reason for the doctor to see you before then.

It’s also possible to ovulate early or late so waiting a few more weeks gives your baby more time to develop if you ovulated later than expected. It’s better to wait a while then to go in to early and not see a heartbeat yet and have to deal with 2 weeks of uncertainty while you wait to see if you ovulated late or if there is a problem with your pregnancy.

It may feel like forever but that first appointment will be here before you know it.

This post reflects my experience and what I’ve heard other moms report who receive care from an obgyn. If you plan to use and see a midwife I suggest you check out this post from Mama Natural.

Will I get my first prenatal ultrasound?!

If your appointment is after about 8 weeks then likely yes you will have your first prenatal ultrasound, but it’s not like in the movies! The first ultrasound won’t be like you see in the movies where they put gel on your tummy and wave a wand around. The first ultrasound is generally transvaginal which can be a surprise if you aren’t expecting it.

What does transvaginal mean? They’ll use a wand that they will insert into your vagina. They will then look for several things. First, they’ll look for the baby and check for a heartbeat. It’s amazing how human-like they can actually look at just a few weeks old and only a few centimeters in size!

They’ll also ensure the baby is in the correct place and check that there is only one baby in there! Most places will print you some photos of your little bean as a souvenir.

first prenatal ultrasound

Should I bring my husband/partner

Yes! They will likely do an ultrasound at the first appointment and your partner won’t want to miss hearing that heartbeat for the first time!

You may get a Pap smear

I personally have never had a Pap smear while pregnant. However, many women will get a Pap smear at that appointment if they are overdue for one. It seems some doctors do them routinely but generally, it’s only done if you are due for one. They may also check for STDs as these can be very dangerous to your unborn child.

What tests will they do at my first prenatal appointment?

Your first appointment will likely include my least favorite thing, a blood draw! They will also collect a urine sample. This will give them baseline information on things like your iron levels, a common issue during pregnancy.

You may also be given the opportunity to do genetic testing. The first question to ask is how much this testing will cost and if your insurance will cover it! You don’t want to be surprised with a giant bill.

This testing is completely optional, whether or not to do it is a personal choice you and your spouse will need to discuss. It’s best to discuss it before your appointment as it’s hard to have a discussion with a doctor or nurse standing there waiting for you to decide. If you opt-out you will simply sign a form that you are opting out.

Be sure you visit our Pregnancy page and sign up for our newsletter to get your Printable Guide to Pregnancy including a week-by-week checklist!

Lots of personal questions!

Lastly, be prepared to get personal! They will ask you questions about date of your last period, if you or your partner have other children, blood type, and health questions. All of this is important for them to get an overall picture of your health and pregnancy so you can have a healthy baby.

What questions should you ask at your first ob appointment?

This is a great time to get to know your doctor’s office. You may not even meet with the OBGYN themselves if it’s a larger hospital system. My first appointment has always been with a nurse practitioner rather than the actual OBGYN. You want to make sure the office is a good fit for you and your family as it’s much easier to switch care providers early on. Questions to ask:

  • Will your doctor attend your birth or are they part of a larger team that takes shifts
  • Do they support specific aspects of birth that you want such as natural childbirth, minimal intervention, intermittent monitoring, etc.
  • What are their C-section rates? C-section rates have been rising at an alarming pace in the United States. Some doctors seem to want to push a c-section at the mere hint of an issue. If you are strongly against a c-section unless absolutely necessary it’s important to know this information early.

You are going to be seeing this doctor regularly for the next 6-7 months and entrusting them to help you through one of the biggest events in your life so be sure you are comfortable with the office and the care providers. If anything doesn’t sit right with you then find a different doctor.

After your appointment be sure to set up your next appointment as some offices fill up fast. You likely won’t be back for about a month if everything looked good.

Enjoy all the attention you got at this appointment. The next few appointments are generally just a quick check of your vitals, check of the baby’s heartbeat, and you may be asked to pee in a cup to check for protein in your urine (a sign of preeclampsia).

You may have 10-15 minutes tops with your care provider at the next few appointments. If your pregnancy is normal you should expect to see your OB about once a month until the later stages of your pregnancy.

Now you know what to expect at your first OB appointment. It always feels more real after that first one is in the books!

While you’re waiting for your next appointment be sure to pick up these must-read books for pregnancy.

first prenatal appointment

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