To discover that you are pregnant is one of the most pleasant feelings in the world. It is an altogether new chapter in one’s life which if taken care of properly turns out to be wonderful and memorable experience. According to latest medical studies, it is advisable to visit your doctor as soon as the pregnancy is discovered .This care is popularly known as “antenatal care”
This is so, to encourage basic examination, evaluate your health status , discover if there is any deficiency and for some very important advise and discussion so that you and your baby are healthy all through your pregnancy. Below are some of the very important things that one can expect from the “first visit to the doctor”. Also are mentioned some common terminologies that are often used either by doctors or in the scan.
- Questions on your LMP ( last menstrual period) so that the calculation of EDD (expected date of delivery) can be made.
- Your overall understanding about pregnancy; to educate you and help you to cope up with the new changes that are expected.
- You will be required to give an in depth information of your health. Being open about this will help your doctor to evaluate better.
- Past history of infections (sexually transmitted and others), past history of miscarriages, any family disorders, any chronic disease that you are suffering from (Asthma, Diabetes, hypertension etc.), history of alcoholism or smoking (be open about it so that your doctor can arrange for counselling sessions or help you in de- addiction) will be reviewed.
- Any OTC medicines that you consume on a regular basis
- Any family history of birth defects also needs to be shared.
- Antenatal visits are an opportunity to tell your doctor if you’re in a vulnerable situation or if you need extra support. This could be due to domestic abuse or violence or sexual abuse
- You will be given information about subsequent visits so that you are well monitored. Ideally, you are expected to have a monthly visit up to 28weeks, fortnightly up to 36 weeks and weekly once from 36th week onwards.
- You will be asked to do a few investigations to check for anything that may cause problems during pregnancy or after the birth and given an outline of what tests you are expected to do when throughout your pregnancy. It is very important to do the tests as and when advised. Doing then too early or too late may not yield proper results.
For the first antenatal visit, the tests advised are
- A general body check up to make sure your heart, lungs and blood pressure are okay
- A Complete urine examination to make sure that your kidneys are functioning well and to detect signs of infection
- A blood test to check for Anemia, signs infections if any, screening for disorders that may be harmful in pregnancy like Hepatitis, HIV, Rubella and also endocrine issues like Diabetes and Thyroid disorders.
- A routine breast examination
- An Ultrasound if required, to check for correct position of the pregnancy (to make sure it is inside the uterus) and to check for foetal well-being.
All in all, your first Ante-natal visit is all about taking an in depth assessment of your current health and making plans for managing the pregnancy and taking proactive measures to facilitate the best outcome for both the mother and the baby. There -fore, this is an important part of the pregnancy and must not be missed!
-Dr. Afroze Fathima