Think you may be pregnant? Book your first prenatal appointment today!
We can’t stress enough how important it is to start prenatal care as soon as possible. It’s not just about taking vitamins; it’s about making sure both you and your little one stay healthy throughout this incredible journey. Prenatal care is like having a personal team of experts looking out for you both. They’ll help you stay healthy, catch any potential issues early, and provide guidance on everything from nutrition to what to expect during labor. So, why not schedule that first appointment? It’s a fantastic way to kickstart this incredible journey and ensure you’re both in good hands.
You’ve got this!
What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is the health care a woman receives while pregnant to check in on her health and the health of the growing baby. Prenatal care occurs across multiple reoccurring visits throughout the duration of a pregnancy.
Why is it important to receive prenatal care?
It is important to receive prenatal care to monitor the health of you and your baby.
Regular check-ins allow doctors to identify and treat potential issues, make sure that your baby is growing healthily and prevent any future complications.
Prenatal care also increases the likelihood that your baby will be born full term (born within a week range of your due date), which ensures that the baby will have the full time they need to develop in the womb.
The AAP also recognizes that the prenatal visit is an important first step in establishing a child’s medical home and in beginning the relationship between the family and their pediatric provider, who will also monitor the development of the child.1
When do I need to start prenatal care?
Ideally, prenatal care should be both:
Early – If you believe you are or possibly could be pregnant, schedule an appointment at an Obria clinic near you as soon as possible. We will be able to provide you with pregnancy confirmation as well as prenatal care if needed.
Regular – As a nine-month process, pregnancy is a marathon, not a sprint. There are a number of important milestones that must be reached. For this reason, be sure to attend every prenatal appointment throughout the duration of your pregnancy as all are important.
In need of appointment reminders? As an Obria patient, we’ll send you appointment reminders to help you stay on top of your appointments.
What do I need to bring to my first prenatal visit?
- Please bring a form of photo ID.
- Please bring your health insurance card. If you do not have health insurance, Obria staff can assist you with presumptive eligibility.
- You are welcome to bring support in the form of a partner, family member or friend.
- Bring any questions you may have – we are here for you!
What can I expect during my first prenatal visit?
Your first prenatal visit will usually be your longest appointment as you and your provider will touch on a number of subjects. During this visit, the obstetrician (OB-GYN) or nurse practitioner will likely order lab work, and perform a urinalysis, physical exam, and an ultrasound if necessary. They will also educate you on managing a healthy pregnancy. Expand to learn more!
Your pregnancy will be verified.
On your first visit, Obria staff will confirm that you are pregnant and whether your pregnancy is viable.
If viable, they will provide you with what is called Pregnancy Verification. This is an official document that serves as proof of pregnancy for insurance companies, community agencies that provide services, and your employer.
Your pregnancy will be verified via obstetrical ultrasound, which will also be used to detect fetal heartbeat, determine fetal age, your due date, and the location of pregnancy (intrauterine/ectopic).
You will be asked a number of questions in order to provide you with the best care possible.
We want to provide you with an expert level of care that is confidential, respectful, and allows you to feel empowered and cared for. To do so, we will ask you questions regarding:
- Your menstrual cycle, your sexual and gynecological history, as well as any previous pregnancies.
- Your health history, medical conditions, past surgeries & family health history.
- Medication use, including prescription and over-the-counter medications or supplements.
- Lifestyle, including use of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and street or prescription drugs.
- Your stress level and environmental safety.
- Potential exposure to toxic substances
- ACOG admonishes that prenatal exposure to specific toxic chemicals may contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and behavioral or intellectual delay. While policy change is the only way to truly limit exposure, you can consult with your OBGYN for more information on how to mitigate exposures. 2
- Potential exposure to contagious diseases
- Including travel to areas where malaria, tuberculosis, the Zika virus or other infectious diseases are common.
Your answers and medical history will then be recorded as needed.
Note: Obria strives to offer superior support in regard to the care we offer our patients. Please answer sensitive questions as honestly as possible so that we can best help you. We will provide you with a safe place to discuss safety and sensitive issues related to your pregnancy.
Your provider will give you a physical examination.
This will likely be a complete physical, which includes a breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap smear. This exam provides the opportunity for your specialist to check in on your reproductive health as well as screen for the presence of any STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) that could cause complications in your pregnancy.
Additionally, your provider may check your weight, blood pressure, urine and order any additional testing as needed.
You may be proscribed prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid.
It is recommended that 600mcg of folic acid be taken throughout pregnancy to prevent conditions like Anencephaly & Spina Bifida in your baby, which are neurological birth defects to the baby’s spine and brain. If you are at high risk for having a baby with these conditions, your provider may prescribe you to take 4,000mcg of folic acid daily as needed.3
You will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns.
Pregnancy is a life-changing experience, and our staff is here to help walk you through any questions you may have regarding pregnancy, parenting, or adoption. We are here for you and offer a safe place to ask questions and get the care you need.
Your pregnancy is important and should be taken seriously. Follow through on taking all prescribed medications, completing lab work, diagnostic studies and appointments.
What can I expect in future prenatal care appointments?
While the specifics may vary, generally you can expect these appointments to be shorter check ins in on how you are feeling, how your baby is developing and ensuring everything is progressing as planned.
In future appointments, your provider may:
Feel and measure your belly to monitor your baby’s growth and position, as well as ask you questions about fetal movement in the womb.
Check your baby’s heartbeat and provide a gender confirmation.
Fetal heartbeat can usually be heard between 10-12 weeks (about 3 months) of pregnancy4, while gender can be accurately confirmed around the fourth month.5
Order additional prenatal testing, ultrasounds and or screenings
Check Amniotic fluid amounts via ultrasound.
Screen for Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes is a condition in which the mother’s blood glucose levels are too high and can cause complications if left untreated. While Gestational Diabetes may resolve itself after pregnancy, mothers who have had Gestational Diabetes are predisposed to becoming diabetic later in life.6
Test the mother for GBS (Group B Strep)
Group B Strep is a common bacteria (around 25% of mothers may have it). While GBS may not harm the mother, it can be harmful to at newborn. If you test positive for GBS treatment may be provided via antibiotic.7
Provide a tdap vaccination to protect against Pertussis (whooping cough), which can be dangerous for newborns.
Issue additional pelvic exams.
Prioritizing prenatal care is paramount for a positive pregnancy journey. Take these nine months seriously to ensure the best possible pregnancy outcomes.
Completing prescriptions, lab work, diagnostic studies, and regular appointments, plays a pivotal role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. It allows doctors to monitor the wellbeing of the mother and baby, allows for early detection management of potential complications and promotes a safe and healthy environment for both mother and baby.
Prenatal care also includes emotional support and education, reducing risks, preparing for labor, and ultimately contributing to a healthier start in life for both expectant mother and child.
Obria staff are committed to providing you high quality prenatal care.
We strive to provide you with expert level care that is confidential, respectful and allows you to feel empowered. It’s your pregnancy, let us walk along side you. Book an appointment at an Obria clinic near you today.
- Yogman, M., Lavin, A., Cohen, G., & COMMITTEE ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH. (2018, July 1). The Prenatal Visit. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/142/1/e20181218/37445/The-Prenatal-Visit?autologincheck=redirected
- Committee Opinon. (2021, June 24). Reducing Prenatal Exposure to Toxic Environmental Agents. ACOG. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2021/07/reducing-prenatal-exposure-to-toxic-environmental-agents
- March of Dimes. “Folic Acid.” March of Dimes, May 2020, www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/folic-acid#:~:text=During%20pregnancy%2C%20take%20a%20prenatal%20vitamin%20each%20day%20that%20has,your%20baby%20grow%20and%20develop.
- “Prenatal Care Checkups.” March of Dimes, June 2017, www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/planning-baby/prenatal-care-checkups#:~:text=is%20it%20important%3F-,Prenatal%20care%20is%20medical%20care%20you%20get%20during%20pregnancy.,if%20you’re%20feeling%20fine
- “How Early Can You Find out the Gender of Your Baby?” The Woman’s Clinic, 4 May 2021, www.arobgyn.com/how-early-can-you-find-out-the-gender-of-your-baby/#:~:text=By%20week%2014%2C%20a%20baby’s,to%20show%20the%20correct%20gender.
- “Gestational Diabetes.” March of Dimes, Mar. 2022, www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/gestational-diabetes.
- “Group B Strep Infection.” March of Dimes, Nov. 2013, www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/planning-baby/group-b-strep-infection.