Chicago doctor explains what to expect during the first obstetrics examination
Women who believe they are pregnant should call their doctor right away. Obstetrics examinations are an important part of pregnancy care. The physicians at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates help their Chicago-area patients throughout pregnancy and delivery.
Prenatal care is important for babies and moms
Regular appointments with your obstetrician are important to ensure the health of the mom and the baby. In addition to monitoring the growth of the baby and the health of the mom, prenatal appointments provide an opportunity to share important information, offer counseling and support, and answer any questions you have.
The first appointment
During your first appointment, the physician and his team will confirm your pregnancy and determine you due date. They will also ask questions about your personal and family health history, lifestyle habits, medications, previous pregnancies, surgeries, and risk factors, and will answer any questions you may have. Some of the most common questions that are asked include:
- Should I take a prenatal vitamin?
- Are these symptoms (cramping, nausea, headaches) normal? Is it normal to not have morning sickness?
- What activities, foods, or substances should I avoid?
- Is my pregnancy high risk?
The doctor may perform a pap smear, and a pelvic exam to determine the size of your uterus and pelvis. The doctor will use a Doppler instrument to listen to the heartbeat. However, it’s important to note that it cannot detect a baby’s heartbeat prior to 12 weeks of pregnancy. So, if you’re in the early weeks of pregnancy you may not be able to hear it. Often an ultrasound will be performed, which allows you to see the heartbeat. The first prenatal appointment is exciting, but can make many women nervous. It is critical to work with a team you trust with your health and the health of your baby. For more information about obstetrics care, call Northwestern Women’s Health Associates today.