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By Planning Family

Your FIRST Prenatal Visit

In your first visit lots of questions will be asked as your doctor will want to know as much about you as possible. It is the most comprehensive visit in comparison to the other visits. Your medical history along with a thorough physical examination, which includes blood work, pelvic and breast exams, will be done. Below are the common tests conducted in this initial visit, which are by and large standard in nature

Why the Blood Work?

You will most likely have blood drawn at the very beginning of pregnancy. Sometimes your initial lab work may double up as a pregnancy test where the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) level will be checked. This level should double every 2 days and for this reason this blood work may be repeated in a few days.

This baseline blood work consists of a host of blood tests including these:

Test for hemoglobin and hematocrit

Purpose: checks for anemia and determines whether iron and other supplements are required

Test for blood type and RH factor

Purpose: to establish your blood type in case of blood transfusions. Also to determine if you would need a Rhogam shot

Test for platelets

Purpose: to establish the clotting factors within the blood


Purpose: checks for immunity against rubella and chicken pox virus and if not immune, avoid people with measles and get vaccinated after delivery


Purpose: checks for infections such as syphilis and hepatitis; treatments may be required

Test for HIV

Purpose: checks the status; medication may be required

Other tests as needed

Depending on your ethnic background and medical history, you may also be tested for sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis and thalassemia. A glucose challenge test may be done at the first visit if you are a candidate for gestational diabetes.

Why Urine Test?

Urine will be checked at every prenatal visit; a small sample in a little plastic cup is all that is needed. Various substances will be checked including protein, sugar, ketones, leukocytes and blood cells or bacteria. Antibiotics will be prescribed if treatment is required for any infection.

Why Blood Pressure check?

Just as your weight is taken at every prenatal visit including the initial one, your blood pressure will be monitored throughout your pregnancy. A slight rise in BP or weight is fairly normal but a substantial rise calls for concern. The rise could be a one-time thing or a trend to watch. That is why it is important to have these routine check-ups.

Why Pelvic Exam?

A pelvic test like urine and blood test will be performed to confirm pregnancy and to make sure all is normal with the pregnancy. Pelvic exam of the uterus and cervix helps determine the uterus size and also ensures that the cervix is properly sealed and not bleeding. Mostly, this is the only pelvic exam you will have to undergo until you are a few weeks away from delivery. Complications will call for more such exams.

Pap smear

Purpose: cells from the cervix are scraped and sent to the lab to detect abnormal cells. Unless you have had one recently, your doctor will take a Pap smear test at your first visit


Purpose: checks for infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea; antibiotics may be required

Good to know

Goodell's sign

Ordinarily the cervix is hard but after about 6 weeks of pregnancy, the vagina and cervix starts to retain fluid and softens.

Hegar's sign

At 6th week of pregnancy the uterus will be softer than normal. Your doctor will insert two fingers into the vagina to check the size of the uterus and ovaries.

Chadwick's sign

Vagina, vulva and cervix will change color - bluish and violet after 2 months of pregnancy because of increased blood volume and dilation of veins.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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