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 What you need to know about your first antenatal appointment

What you need to know about your first antenatal appointment

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Antenatal appointments are meant to monitor your health as well as the health and development of your baby during your pregnancy. It predicts possible problems with your pregnancy or your delivery, so that proper action can be taken to avoid them. Your first antenatal is just the beginning. It is more like an acquaintance meeting with your doctor, where in your doctor tries to get information about you and your partner’s health, disease history of your family and similar facts.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Your first antenatal appointment falls between 6th to 12th week of your pregnancy. By this time your pregnancy symptoms are in full bloom. It’s quite likely that you may already be suffering from morning sickness symptoms like nausea and vomiting. So, try to fix up your appointment at the time when you are most comfortable and at ease.

Things the doctor might ask you on your first appointment.

Your Last Monthly Period ( LMP): You are going to be asked the date of your LMP so that your EDD (Expected Due Date) can be calculated.

Your previous obstetric history: The doctor can ask you about your obstetric history and also about any previous births, miscarriages or abortions. This helps the doctor in planning your antenatal care and also your delivery.

Post medical history of TB, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, jaundice etc. will be asked.

Any drug allergies must be clearly told to your doctor, so that she/he is careful while prescribing medication in order to avoid allergic complication.

Disease history of both the parents: Expectant mother as well as the father is inquired about their disease histories. This has a very significant role in the growth of the baby. Moreover, the risk assessment for the mother can be done with the help of her disease history.

Family disease history or genetic diseases: This helps to find out the potential risks of the growing foetus.  The doctor can ask you to screen for diseases with high susceptibility to provide timely corrective measures.

Medical Screening: You may also be screened for genetic diseases like, Down’s syndrome and Spina bifida. If you or your partner has a family history of genetic diseases, your doctor may want to test you for any such risk. You may be asked to get a CVS (CHORIONIC VILLUS SAMPLING) done between 10-12 weeks of pregnancy on a tiny sample of your placenta.  The doctor can also ask you for an AMNIOCENTESIS done in the 16th week of your pregnancy on a small sample of amniotic fluid in the uterus, gathered by injecting a syringe.

Blood tests: You may be asked to get some blood tests done for haemoglobin, RBC count, blood group, rh factor, HIV, Hepatitis B,., VDRL, sugar, thyroid function test, and other general infections

Urine tests: You may be asked to give a sample of your urine, to be screened for any proteins in the urine or for any infection.

Ultrasound scan: You may be asked to get an ultrasound done, to find out the stage of pregnancy and also to get an idea of Expected Delivery Date (EDD). It also checks the growth of your foetus.

Ultrasound to identify twins: If you suspect that you are pregnant with twins, an ultrasound scan can confirm it by showing the growth of twin foetuses. Your doctor may also want to confirm it with Doppler heartbeat count which helps to identify twin heart beats.

Blood Pressure: Your blood pressure is checked and is considered as a baseline reference for future appointments in pregnancy.

Your height and weight: The doctor can also ask you your weight and height to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). If your BMI is higher than 30, it indicates a potential risk for gestational diabetes. So, you may be advised on measures to control it.

Your lifestyle: Your lifestyle is going to be screened by your doctor. You can be advised to quit smoking and drinking, if you are into it. Also you can be advised for changes in your lifestyle to make you more active. You may also be suggested tips for exercises and diet.

Prepare a maternity card: Your future appointments shall be planned and a maternity card shall be made for you.

Discuss with your doctor.

You can also put up queries you have in mind with reference to your pregnancy and health. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor and always get your doubts cleared, whether it is regarding diet, exercise, your health or your baby’s growth.

Before you leave, please remember, your first antenatal appointment is very significant because your doctor tries to make a preliminary assessment of your baby’s health in this meeting. Discuss your concerns with your doctor. This helps in the correct assessment of your condition.

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