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As soon as a woman believes she is pregnant, it is recommended that she schedule her first prenatal visit with a midwife, obstetrician, or a prenatal clinic. The first appointment with a prenatal caregiver will typically be one of the longest ones during the pregnancy. During this visit, the caregiver will usually examine and question a patient to determine her overall health, as well as order urine and blood tests. He will also advise the pregnant mother on what to expect during the pregnancy and answer any other questions that she may have.
Usually one of the first things that is examined during the first prenatal visit is the mother's past medical history, including any previous pregnancies, allergies, hospitalizations, medical conditions, and psychological problems. A complete medical history of the family is also typically requested, as many diseases and medical complications are hereditary. Usually, the family medical history of both the father and the mother will be requested.
Prenatal caregivers will also typically ask a mother routine questions about her living environment, looking for signs of abuse at home. He will also ask about any type of nicotine, alcohol, or drug use, including any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or supplements. She will be advised to quit smoking and drinking, and referred to a counselor for help, if needed.
Afterward, a thorough physical exam is performed along with a gynecological exam. The gynecological exam will typically include a breast exam and a pelvic exam. During these exams, the caregiver will not only be looking for an assessment of the mother's health, but also any signs of disease, including sexually transmitted diseases and cancer.
A urine sample will usually be collected during the first prenatal visit, and is often used to confirm the pregnancy. This is also used to test for urinary tract, bladder, and kidney infections. Sugar levels in the mother are also checked in the urine to ensure that there is no risk of diabetes.
A caregiver will also request that the mother have blood work done either during or shortly after the first prenatal visit. Several vials of blood are drawn from the mother, and this blood is used to test for a number of medical conditions, such as anemia and any diseases, including HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B. Along with the presence of any diseases, the blood work will also reveal immunity to certain diseases like chicken pox and rubella. During the blood work, the mother's blood type and Rh factor status will also be determined. An Rh negative blood factor, while rare, can cause complications during the pregnancy and certain precautions must be taken.
Toward the end of the first prenatal visit, the caregiver will usually let the mother know what will happen in the coming months regarding her pregnancy. He will also advise her on healthy eating habits and, possibly, prescribe a prenatal vitamin. Many times she will also be informed of certain things to avoid during her pregnancy and what to do in case of abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. The caregiver may also give her information on any types of prenatal testing or screening available. Before scheduling the next prenatal visit, a mother can ask her caregiver any questions about her pregnancy and voice any concerns.