Your first visit with a care provider is important. During this visit, he or she will take a full medical history to determine if you have any underlying health problems. In addition, your care provider will ask you about any health problems that run in your family, and in your partner's family.
Unless you have a preexisting medical problem, your doctor will usually treat you like any other pregnant woman in terms of scheduling your first appointment, at about 8 weeks. One of the main reasons for the delay is that early miscarriage is very common and in most cases can not be prevented by medical treatment. There fore, most care providers wait until you have passed the danger zone of early miscarriage before they order all the pregnancy blood tests.
Preparing For Your Appointment
If your partner is not going to come with you to your first visit, it's important for you to sit down together and brainstorm about possible family problems. Any family conditions may be passed on to your baby and testing may be an option.
If you have any health problems, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, bring your medical records with you. Your questions can then be answered right away instead of having to wait until your care provider can get copies of your records. You may be asked some embarrassing but important questions about drug use, sexually transmitted diseases and past pregnancy terminations. It's critical that you tell the truth about your medical history. If your partner doesn't know about it, you can arrange to tell your care provider when your partner is not present.
In addition to answering a lot of questions, you will probably have a thorough physical exam, including a pelvic examination and cervical (PAP) smear (unless you have recently had one). Your doctor should also discuss your options for first trimester screening for abnormalities so that tests can be arranged between 10-14 weeks if you want them. Depending on how many weeks pregnant you are, you may get to hear your baby's heartbeat. Finally, you will be asked to give samples of your blood and urine for routine testing and have your weight and blood pressure checked.
Testing for HIV is recommended for all pregnant women. If you have HIT, the chances of passing the virus on to your baby can be significantly reduced by taking antiretroviral agents. In additional to these routine tests you may also have additional. tests. A swab may be taken from your cervix for testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, which can be symptom-free but could affect your baby if not diagnosed and treated.
In some cases, blood tests may also be done to check for varicella (chicken pox) and toxoplasmosis. Past infection with toxoplasmosis is a good thing because you will be protected from developing an infection during pregnancy when it can harm your baby.