What Happens At Your First OB Appointment? Experts Share What To Expect
For most women, a positive pregnancy test brings with it excitement, anticipation, and questions — like all the questions. Whether you are curious about your changing body or a tad worried about exactly how your little human being is going to make their way out, it's perfectly normal for soon-to-be moms to lie awake at night with questions swirling in their heads. It's easy, of course, to rely on Google in these situations, but the information you'll discover will sometimes lead to more worry than relief. So, when it comes to questions like what happens at your first OB appointment, it's better to ask the experts, right?
“In our office, we like to have the patient come in for the first OB visit between seven and eight weeks," Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, an OB-GYN at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells Romper in an email interview. "We get a comprehensive history."
Ruiz says his office will also order an OB panel — a group of blood tests that helps check a pregnant woman's health. "The results of these tests can help uncover certain problems during the pregnancy," according to WebMD, using blood type, antibody screening, blood count (CBC), and other measures to provide accurate results.
"Finally and most importantly, we will do a vaginal probe ultrasound to confirm due dates," Ruiz says, noting that your healthcare provider will also measure fetal crown rump length (CRL), which is performed via ultrasound to measure between the top of the head to the area above where the legs begin, according to BabyMed. Ruiz says the CRL should be within five days of the last menstrual period dates. "If there is a significant discrepancy we will consider changing the dates," he says. "This also gives us the opportunity to determine if it is a viable pregnancy."
Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California and author of She-ology, says the ultrasound is also where your doctor will be able to "identify a healthy embryo with a strong heartbeat, determine a precise gestational age, and accurate due date.
"Recommendations on what prenatal vitamins should be taken, dietary suggestions, and other commonly asked questions are answered during the first OB visit," Ross tells Romper, adding that genetic screening of both partners is also performed during the first prenatal visit.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), your first appointment with your healthcare provider is also a good time to ask questions. If you're like me and a bit of a planner, then make a list of things that have been on your mind ever since you saw those two pink lines. The APA said important questions include: "If I experience bleeding or cramping, do I call you or your nurse?" or "What are your thoughts about natural childbirth?
As for how often you will be paying your doctor a visit, The Bump said you can count on seeing your healthcare provider approximately every four weeks during the first and second trimester. After that, it's every two weeks through week 36, then on a weekly basis until your little one arrives. As your due date nears closer, your doctor will also begin "checking your cervix's effacement (the amount it has shortened) and dilation (the amount it has opened) to judge the imminence of labor," the website noted.
Like many things throughout pregnancy, you can never know what to fully expect from your obstetrician. After all, every doctor has their own bedside manner. That's why it's so important to find the one who works best for you and your growing baby.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.