When you first find out that you’re pregnant, it’s natural to have a lot of questions—what foods should you avoid? What supplements should you take? What next? Many of these questions can easily be answered by a doctor at your first prenatal visit.
As soon as you find out you’re expecting, you should schedule a prenatal visit with an OB/GYN or certified midwife. Even if you aren’t a first-time parent, prenatal visits are still important, as every pregnancy is different.
The Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Midwifery team at Florida Medical Clinic shed some light on what to expect during your first prenatal visit. Knowing what will happen can help expectant parents feel better prepared and less overwhelmed in the early stages of a pregnancy.
How to Choose a Provider
If you’re a parent-to-be, prenatal care can help keep both you and your fetus healthy, monitor the progress of your pregnancy, and provide answers to any questions you may have along the way. Both OB/GYNs and Certified Nurse-Midwives can provide prenatal care and deliver babies. But how do you decide who to trust with your care?
- An OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) is a medical doctor who has completed 4 years of medical school, a 4-year residency program and a 3-year fellowship. OB/GYN’s can handle high-risk pregnancies and have the surgical training necessary to perform C-sections if necessary.
- A CNM (Certified Nurse-Midwife) has a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing and is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Midwives typically take a more natural, low-intervention approach to labor and delivery, making them a great choice for low-risk pregnancies.
It’s very common for expectant parents to see both an OB/GYN and a midwife throughout their pregnancy. For instance, you might see a midwife for your first prenatal visit, then have a few visits with an OB/GYN later on if complications arise. Alternatively, some patients start off seeing an OB/GYN but then continue their care with a midwife.
Florida Medical Clinic’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Midwifery is unique in that we have both OB/GYNs and Certified Nurse-Midwives together under one roof, so expectant parents can receive the best of both worlds.
What to Expect During Your First Prenatal Visit
Prenatal care is important for having a safe and healthy pregnancy. Your first prenatal visit will be a time to talk about your health and medical history, as well as make a plan going forward. This first appointment will be one of your longest visits because of the amount of information you’ll be covering.
Below are a few things to expect:
- A general check-up and physical exam. A nurse will take your blood pressure, height, weight, and other basic physical details. You may also receive a pelvic and breast exam and a pap smear at this time if it’s been a while since your last exam.
- A review of your medical history. Your provider will ask you lots of questions about your medical history, including details about any past pregnancies, medication use, your sexual history, and any family history of pregnancy complications or genetic diseases. You’ll also be asked about your current lifestyle, including how often you smoke tobacco or drink alcohol.
- A urine test. You’ll be asked to provide a urine sample to verify your pregnancy, check your glucose levels, and monitor your kidney function.
- An ultrasound. An ultrasound checks the fetal heartbeat, helps estimate a due date, and lets you see an image of the fetus. Ultrasounds can also help predict if you or your baby is at risk for complications later on. If you’re very early in your pregnancy (less than 6 weeks), your doctor may schedule your first ultrasound for later once the fetus has had more time to develop.
Making a Plan With Your Provider
Your first prenatal visit is a time for you to discuss your plan for the rest of your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. You can also use this opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Below are some tips for making the most of your appointment.
- Write down what your doctor/midwife says during the visit. You’ll be taking in a lot of new information, so it can be helpful to write things down. If you have a partner or trusted loved one, ask them to come with you and help take notes. You may also want to write down any questions you have for the doctor/midwife beforehand so you remember to ask.
- Ask about supplements. Depending on your current health, your provider might recommend prenatal supplements. Ask what kinds, if any, they suggest.
- Talk about diet. Eating the right diet is key to providing your baby with the nutrients they need to be healthy. Ask about what kind of foods you should eat and what you should avoid. Read what the Mayo Clinic has to say about foods that people should avoid during pregnancy.
- Talk about your birth plan. If you have any preferences about your labor and delivery, now is the time to start discussing that with your doctor or midwife. If you’re not sure about your birth plan, you can ask your provider what they recommend.
- Make a follow-up appointment. You’ll need to see your provider on an ongoing basis throughout the course of your pregnancy, so ask when they’d like you to see you back in the office. You can also ask what to expect at your next appointment.
Schedule Your Visit Today
Pregnancy can be an exciting (yet nerve-wracking!) experience for many parents-to-be. Your provider is here to help you navigate this new time in your life and ensure things go as smoothly as possible. In addition to doing your research and knowing what to expect at your first prenatal visit, check out our other tips for managing stress during pregnancy.
If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, schedule your first prenatal visit with Dr. M. Gerard Jackson or one of our Certified Nurse-Midwives at our office in Wiregrass, Florida.
About Our Team At Florida Medical Clinic OBGYN & Midwifery
M. Gerard Jackson, MD, FACOG, is an OB/GYN at Florida Medical Clinic who specializes in prenatal care and general gynecology, as well as the treatment of conditions like endometriosis and pelvic pain. Raised in Florida, Dr. Jackson is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is dedicated to helping his patients have healthy and happy pregnancies.
Dr. Jackson works alongside the Florida Medical Clinic team of Certified Nurse-Midwives:
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always talk with your doctor before starting or stopping medications or treatments.