Finding out you’re pregnant is an exciting time, especially if it’s your first child. With all of that excitement can also come plenty of questions and anxiety about the nine months ahead.
From the changes to your body to the labor and delivery to eventually taking care of this new life, you have a lot on your plate.
This is why getting as much support as possible is so important. We’re not just talking about someone running out to get those foods you’ll be craving, although that is very helpful!
We’re talking about having the support of your husband or partner for your entire pregnancy journey. They probably have as many questions as you do which is why it’s a good idea to have them around for your doctor’s visits, including your first prenatal visit.
Your first prenatal visit is the beginning of what’s going to be a very exciting time with plenty of ups and downs. If you have someone along for the ride, it can make it easier and more enjoyable.
Let’s take a closer look at that first prenatal visit and how your husband can help.
In this article
- What Happens During Your First Prenatal Visit?
- What Questions Should I Ask?
- Reasons Why Your Husband Should Come to Your First Prenatal Visit
What Happens During Your First Prenatal Visit?
During your first prenatal visit, you’ll likely get a lot of information thrown at you. This appointment is generally around eight weeks after your last menstrual period.
It’s typically one of the longest visits so be prepared and be sure you have plenty of time blocked off on your schedule. You don’t want to feel rushed.
Here are several things to expect:
Discover Your Due Date
Your doctor will ask when your last menstrual cycle was to determine how far along you are. This will give them your due date.
While doctors do their best to pin down the date, we all know that babies have minds of their own. They can come earlier or later. Keep this in mind as your pregnancy progresses.
During your first prenatal visit your doctor will check your blood pressure, height, and weight. You can also expect a breast and cervical exam.
Since this is your first visit, your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, allergies, any medications you’re taking, as well as any history of abortions or miscarriages.
You’ll also want to tell them about any hospitalizations you had in your past.
Family history will also be discussed so that your doctor can get the entire picture of your health and well-being.
You can also expect a trip to the lab for bloodwork. According to the American Pregnancy Association, several laboratory tests will be done, including:
- Hemoglobin/ hematocrit
- Rh Factor and blood type (if Rh negative, rescreen at 26-28 weeks)
- Rubella screen
- Varicella or history of chickenpox, rubella, and hepatitis vaccine
- Cystic Fibrosis screen
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- Tay Sach’s screen
- Sickle Cell prep screen
- HIV test
- Hemoglobin levels
- Hematocrit levels
- Specific tests depending on the patient
If you’re unsure about any of the things that you’re being tested for, be sure to ask. Your doctor should be more than willing to discuss them with you.
Get used to peeing in a cup. It’s going to happen at every appointment. Your doctor is checking proteins and glucose that could indicate pre-eclampsia or diabetes.
Your doctor is also checking for urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.
You May Get to Hear the Heartbeat
If you’re at least 12-weeks along your doctor may use a fetal doppler monitor to scan for your baby’s heartbeat. If you have an internal ultrasound, the heartbeat can be detected between 6-7 weeks.
Sometimes your doctor can’t find it which can be normal. This can happen if your due date is a few weeks off or if you’re earlier than 12 weeks. Also, your bladder may be too full.
If this is your first pregnancy, you may not be familiar with a birth plan. This is a roadmap that tells your doctor or midwife your wishes during birth.
Of course, things can happen and that plan may go out the window. But, having something in place is always a good idea.
Your birth plan can include topics like:
- Epidural or no epidural
- Who will be in the delivery room
- Delayed cord-cutting
- Anything else you want to discuss labor and delivery
First Trimester Screenings
Your doctor may ask if you want to take part in a first-trimester screening. This will check to see if you’re at risk for having a baby with genetic complications or Down Syndrome.
If you decide you want this test, you will get a blood test and ultrasound done when you are 11-14 weeks.
That’s a lot of information to take in during just one visit. You’re likely going to have several questions you want to ask. It’s a good idea to jot some down ahead of time so that you don’t forget. Other ones will come up during your appointment.
What Questions Should I Ask?
Here are some common questions that women ask during their first prenatal visit:
- What is the schedule for my prenatal visits and ultrasounds?
- Do I need to change my diet, exercise routine, or normal habits?
- How do I know if I’m having complications?
- Is there a 24-hour number I can call with concerns?
- Can I travel?
- What happens if I start having bleeding or cramping?
- What kind of prenatal vitamins should I be taking?
- Should I stop taking my regular medications?
These are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning. Add any other questions that come to mind.
Reasons Why Your Husband Should Come to Your First Prenatal Visit
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With all of the information you’ll be getting and questions you’re going to have, it just makes sense to have your husband with you on your first prenatal visit. Schedule it for a time that is convenient for both of you.
Here are several reasons why you’ll want your husband or partner by your side during your first prenatal visit.
Calm Your Nerves
You’re probably going to be nervous about this first visit. Having someone by your side to calm your nerves will help.
You May Hear the First Heartbeat
This is an emotional and amazing experience that you’re not going to want to miss and neither will your husband. Let him share this with you.
Someone Else to Listen
With so much going on it never hurts to have a second set of ears during your appointment. He may pick up on something you missed or remember something you forgot.
You’ll Have Someone There if There’s Something Wrong
Unfortunately, there’s always the chance that something could be wrong. If there is, it’s comforting to have your husband there to calm you down.
He Can Hear the Doctor’s Firsthand
While you would tell your husband as much about your visit as you remember, it’s best to have him there so he can hear everything firsthand. This way things don’t get lost in translation and he can also ask any questions that he has.
Many men these days will ask to come to the first prenatal visit, but even if your husband doesn’t, invite him along. You’re in this together.
You’ll need emotional support. The more he knows about the pregnancy, the more he’ll be able to help you. That’s something everyone can get on board with.