Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pregnancy - Your First OB Visit

If you have never had a baby before, the first time you visit the OB can be an exciting and scary event, especially if you don't know what to expect. The exact procedures and routines vary from practitioner to practitioner, but there are a few things that are standard across the board.

As with visiting any new medical doctor, you will first be given a gaggle of forms to fill out while you wait in the waiting room. You will fill out paperwork that gives basic information, your name, address, date of birth, social security number, marital status, spouse's name, insurance information, date of your last period, etc. You will also probably fill out a medical history form, where you will be asked about past illnesses, injuries, surgeries, and hospitalizations. You will also be asked about your family history as well, and maybe even for some of your spouse's information too, so it is a good idea for him to come along to this first appointment. Some practitioner's will also ask questions about your sexual history, as well as talk to you about testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Don't be offended, it is routine with every pregnant patient, and some STD tests are required by law.

Once you have filled out all of your paperwork, you will probably first meet your practitioner in his or her office, where you will go over the forms that you filled out, find out some background information about your practitioner, and be allowed to ask any questions that you may have. When this is over, you will be ushered into either the waiting room, or a patient examination room, depending on what is available.

A member of the staff will check your weight, blood pressure, pulse, and will likely have you give a urine sample, which will be done at every prenatal visit, to check for signs of protein or sugar, which could be a sign of a potential problem. Once this is done, you may have blood drawn for routine lab work, or may be given forms to take to another site, if your practitioner doesn't do labs.

You will be asked to disrobe, and your practitioner will do a routine pelvic exam, and will also check your uterus, to try to get a more accurate idea of how far along you are. This can also be confirmed in other methods, blood tests, ultrasound, and amniocentesis as well. You may also get to hear the baby's heartbeat at this time as well, which can be very exciting, especially for first-time parents. When the exam is complete, your practitioner may talk to you about exercise, diet, and answer any questions that you have. You will be instructed on when to come back in for your next prenatal checkup, and will likely either be given samples or a prescription for prenatal vitamins, which you should take everyday.

You get a lot of information at your first prenatal visit, and it can be overwhelming, so if you think of questions or concerns after you have left, don't hesitate to call. In fact, your doctor probably expects you to, particularly if this is your first pregnancy.

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