What to Expect at Your First Prenatal Appointment

prenatal appointment

The first trimester of pregnancy can be a whirlwind — the hormones, the nerves, the nausea! For me the most nerve-wracking part so far was the first OB-GYN appointment.

What can I expect? What are they looking for? How long is this going to take? Should my partner come with me?

Let me put your mind at ease and tell you step by step what I experienced at my appointment. Hopefully this can give you some kind of timeline for when the day of your appointment arrives.

First, I’d like to disclaim that I am not a medical professional, nor do I claim that all doctors/midwives/etc. perform the same routines. This is just my personal experience.

I’ve been with my gynecologist for eight years, and she’s been guiding me through fertility treatments for the past year. I’d say I’m 100 percent comfortable with her and we’re always laughing. We have a healthy doctor/patient relationship. That’s my first piece of advice, if you’re looking for a new OB-GYN. Find one that you’ll be able to form a great relationship with, ask family and friends who they see and if they recommend them.

Even though my doctor and I have been together for eight years, your first prenatal appointment is called a “New OB” appointment. Even though I’d been there SO many times, I really was treated like a new patient when I arrived for this appointment — filled out new paperwork, asking all kinds of questions about my medical history as well as my husband’s.

Once I filled all that out, the office needed a urine sample. A “clean catch” as they called it.

Finally, the nurse called me back. I did bring my husband with me to this appointment because I was so eager to know if we’d get an ultrasound and maybe even see a heartbeat!

Once we got back to the room, the nurse gave us the longest spiel. No really, it sounded like a monologue that she’d memorized years ago and she has to recite it way too often. It was almost robotic! She explained genetic testing, took my blood pressure, weight, etc., then instructed me to remove all my clothing so that I can get an updated “well woman” exam, AKA, a pap smear and breast check.

This was an … interesting experience to have with my husband in the room. I tried to think of it as preparation for what was to come in 30ish weeks. So if you aren’t loving the idea of your husband seeing you get a full exam, maybe have him wait in the waiting room, or step in the hallway for that part.

After the exam, it was time for the fun but terrifying part — the ultrasound. We had to step back into the waiting room while the ultrasound tech was finishing up with another patient. The anticipation was rising, and I could feel my heart pounding through all my limbs. We suffered a miscarriage 7 months prior to this, and once miscarriage happens to you, you can’t help but feel like every pregnancy is going to end that way.

My named was called and we headed back, a transvaginal ultrasound was what we had to have because of how early I was in the pregnancy. Those aren’t the most fun thing, but all dignity was shot at this point after the pap smear, so I didn’t even care.

Just like that, she took a look at the whole uterus and found one little one in there! Not that we wouldn’t have been happy with twins, but we definitely were hoping for just one miracle. She found it, and began measuring. All I wanted to hear was that heartbeat. It seems like hours had gone by but it honestly was about 2 minutes before she focused in on the heartbeat. Not only did we hear it, but we saw it!

I’ve never been more amazed to see that little flicker on the screen. She let us just watch that for a minute, I think she could tell just how stunned and happy we were.

Once the ultrasound ended, I had some prenatal bloodwork drawn and then we waited in my doctor’s office so she could chat with us about what to expect for the duration of this pregnancy.

Every doctor has different dos and don’ts and thankfully mine has them all written out. No more googling “can I do ____ while pregnant?” She gave me a baggie full of different kinds of prenatal vitamins to try and we were on our way out.

I’ll be seeing her every four weeks until we get farther along.

I hope this drew a good mental picture for what you can expect at your first “New OB” appointment.

What was your first prenatal appointment like? —Kelsie

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1 Comment
  1. Thanks for explaining what happens at a prenatal appointment. It’s good to know that you were able to get an ultrasound there. I’m kind of interested to learn if this always happens or if you should request it, depending on how far along you are.