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32 MUST ASK Questions for Doctor During Your First Prenatal Visit

It’s time to head to your FIRST doctor’s appointment for your pregnancy. This is usually filled with excitement and a little bit of uncertainty.  Having a list of the most important questions to ask your doctor during your first prenatal visit, will ensure that you leave feeling prepared for this pregnancy!

Being a first-time mom, I had NO idea what to expect during pregnancy. I had a lot of questions and my midwife was more than happy to answer all of them.

I want you to know that it is normal to be curious about what to expect. If your provider isn’t willing to listen, you may want to think about switching to another doctor. This first appointment is a good time to get to know who will be caring for you and if you are both on the same page. 

Having a provider who is on your side and supports you in the birth you are wanting, will help you to have a positive experience … even if not everything goes to plan!

32 of the Most Important Questions to Ask Your Doctor at Your First Prenatal Visit

Like I said earlier, I had a LOT of questions. I found that bring a notebook helped me to leave feeling good about my appointment. Next time, I’ll start a journal as soon as I get a positive pregnancy test because it feels like FOREVER before your 8 week appointment.

I’m going to share the MOST Important Questions to ask your Doctor at your First Prenatal Visit from my experience as a first time mom. I hope this helps you!

Basic Questions To Ask

  • Questions about Food + Vitamins 

Questions About Medications

Questions about symptoms + emergencies, questions about lifestyle, evaluate your provider.

I know how overwhelming it is to walk into your first prenatal appointment, especially if this is your first child. You have no idea what to expect and need some clarity on certain things. This appointment is really to see how your baby is doing and to talk about you and your spouse’s family history. 

Your doctor will be asking you a lot of questions and will probably answer a lot of your without even asking. That’s why I wrote my top 10 questions for my midwife, to ensure that I didn’t forget the most important things. Here are the 10 basic questions you should ask your provider at your appointment.

1. What Foods SHOULD/SHOULDN’T I be eating?

Most doctors will give you a list! But be sure that you ask about anything specific to your diet.

Check out my FAVORITE foods for the First Trimester

2. How much weight should I gain?

I want to encourage you to not worry about your weight. My midwife never once questioned my weight and even encouraged me not to worry about it. But, knowing how much they would like you to gain just gives you an idea of who you are doing.

3. What should exercise look like for me?

My doctor recommended a light workout a couple of days a week, but she encouraged me just to walk! I actually had to purchase a belly support band, which helped me to continue walking up until birth.

Here are some awesome workout for the First Trimester

4. How often do I come in for appointments?

For a low-risk birth, you will probably be every 4 weeks until the third trimester. I was unclear what the last trimester looked like and wished that I had gone a little more frequently. I went into labor at 36 weeks and feel like maybe they could have caught something if I was going every 2 weeks.

5. How many ultrasounds do I have? And at what weeks?

My doctor did 3 ultrasounds. (9 weeks, 12 weeks, and 20 weeks) It gave me peace of mind knowing what to expect and when.

6. When can I find out the gender?

This is everyone’s favorite question if they are finding out the gender! Most doctors and midwives do this at 20 weeks, but some do offer it sooner!

If you are really impatient to find out, SneakPeek offers Early DNA Testing – which I did at 9 Weeks!

It’s never too early to start planning your Gender Reveal, here are some unique ideas!

7. What are some normal pregnancy symptoms and what should I call you about?

I didn’t even have to ask for this, but my midwife went through random and weird pregnancy symptoms that were normal. She also gave me a few that were important for me to call her about.

8. What number should I call for basic questions?

My midwife’s office had a nurse’s line I could call for basic questions. She also offered to answer anything on the online portal. I typically did this because I wanted to hear her thoughts, not the on-call nurse. 

9. Where do I go + who do I call in an Emergency?

Obviously, we don’t want to think about the unexpected, but having the resources in case of an emergency will put your mind at ease. Your doctor should give you a list of numbers you can call along with facilities if need be.

10. Who will deliver my baby?

I didn’t realize HOW IMPORTANT this question was until after I gave birth. My midwife was there from my first appointment through delivering my daughter. If this is important to you, be sure to ask!

Like I said earlier, these are the questions I felt were the most important to ask my doctor at the first prenatal visit. But, there are obviously a lot more that come up. I’m going to give you a complete list of questions with everything from prenatal vitamins to symptoms.

You don’t necessarily need to write all these down. Most of them will be answered at your appointment, but if you feel like one really jumps out and feels important to you…. Definitely add it to your list!

Questions about Food + Vitamins  

Staying healthy throughout your pregnancy is really important for you and your baby! Make sure you ask lots of questions about what you can and can not have. This will not only help you to maintain a healthy weight but will also support your birth. (I truly believe this is one of the reasons I was able to have a natural birth )

  • What vitamins should I be taking?
  • Are there any supplements I should add to my diet?
  • Can I have ….. (food you are curious about)?
  • How much water should I be drinking?
  • What can I drink instead of water?
  • How much caffeine can I have?

Be sure to bring all the medications that you take regularly to this appointment. Your OB/Midwife may want to take a look at them to ensure they are safe for pregnancy.

  • Should I continue to take the medications I’m currently on?
  • Are there any medications I need to stop immediately?
  • What over-the-counter medications are okay to take?

There is nothing worse than going to an appointment not asking about a symptom that is concerning you. I was too scared to ask about a few symptoms that felt silly at the time, but after I left I felt unsettled so I called my midwife. Do yourself a favor and ask if your symptoms are normal!

  • Is this (symptom) normal?
  • Do I have any increased risks for complications or conditions?
  • Do you have any recommendations for (nausea, constipation, etc.)?
  • What should I do if I have spotting?
  • What if I feel cramping?

If I’m being completely honest, I was scared to have sex during the first trimester. I was completely embarrassed to ask my OB if it was okay and totally wished I did. Here are some important questions about your lifestyle that you can ask your doctor, so you can enjoy your pregnancy!

  • Is it okay to continue having sex?
  • What do I need to know about traveling while pregnant?
  • When should I STOP traveling?
  • Can I color my hair? Get my nails done? Get a message?
  • What position should I be sleeping in?
  • How long can I continue working during pregnancy?  
  • How do you feel about (Natural Birth, Medicated Birth, C-section)?
  • What are your thoughts on (Breastfeeding/Formula)

This first prenatal appointment is the perfect time to get to know your provider and see if they are the right fit for you. It’s SO much easier to switch doctors after this first appointment rather than later in pregnancy.

If you have any make or break questions be sure to ask them now so that you don’t waste you or your provider’s time. Welcoming a baby into this world is a big deal and you want someone who will support you the entire way!

(Check out my blog post on How to Choose a Provider for Your Pregnancy)

In Conclusion….

From the moment you find out you are pregnant, you will start thinking of a million questions. It’s important to really focus on the ones that matter for right now and not get overwhelmed with all the possible questions you could ask.

This first prenatal appointment is your provider to get to know you, your history, and to check in on baby! Don’t get carried away with concerns that won’t matter until later in your pregnancy. Use this appointment to get to know your provider, if you feel at all uncomfortable, it is easier to change now than later in your pregnancy! Best of luck… and congratulations mama!

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo… so you don’t lose this post!

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What to expect at your first prenatal appointment

Your kickoff prenatal visit sets the stage for the rest of your pregnancy. Here's what to expect at this information-packed first appointment and how you can prepare.

Layan Alrahmani, M.D.

When to schedule your first prenatal visit

When will your first appointment be, what happens at the first prenatal visit, how to prepare for your first prenatal appointment, what questions to ask at the first prenatal visit.

As soon as you get a positive result on a home pregnancy test , book an appointment with an obstetrician, family physician, or midwife . Depending on the practice, it's normal for another provider in the office, like a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, to handle your first visit.

If you haven't yet chosen a healthcare provider for your pregnancy, that's okay. It's still important to see someone now to start your prenatal care. You can always switch to another provider later. 

Many healthcare providers will schedule your first visit for when you're about 8 weeks pregnant . Some will see you sooner, particularly if you have an existing health condition, had problems with a pregnancy in the past, or are having new or severe symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain .

If you're taking any medications or think you may have been exposed to a hazardous substance, let your provider know as soon as possible.

The first visit will probably be the longest of your prenatal appointments (unless you have complications with your pregnancy along the way). At this and all future visits, don't be afraid to raise any questions or concerns you've been wondering about – it helps to keep a running list between appointments.

Here's what your provider will likely do during your first prenatal visit.

Take your health history. Your provider will ask questions about your gynecological health, personal medical history, and lifestyle habits. Topics commonly covered include:

  • Whether your menstrual cycles are regular and how long they tend to last
  • The first day of your last period (to determine your due date )
  • Symptoms or problems you've noticed since your last period, whether they're related to pregnancy or not
  • Current or past gynecological conditions, including sexually transmitted infections
  • Details about previous pregnancies
  • Current or past diseases and conditions
  • Past surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Mental health difficulties and diagnoses
  • Whether you are being or have been abused , or have another situation that could affect your safety or emotional well-being
  • Smoking, drinking, and drug use
  • Medications, supplements, vitamins, and herbal drugs you take
  • Drug allergies

Your healthcare provider will also ask about your family medical history. Many genetic issues and birth defects are at least partly hereditary, so learning about your family history helps your medical team keep an eye out for potential issues. Let your provider know whether a relative in your or your partner's family has a chromosomal or genetic disorder, had developmental delays, or was born with a structural birth defect.

It's also important to mention any potential exposure to toxins, especially if you live or work near toxic materials.

Check you out and run some tests. You can expect a number of standard exams and tests at your first prenatal visit. Some healthcare providers will do an ultrasound , but if you don't have any medical problems or concerns, it may not be part of the routine. Here's what's typical:

  • A thorough physical exam
  • A pelvic exam, including a Pap smear (unless you've had one recently) to check for infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea or abnormal cells that could indicate cervical cancer
  • A urine sample to test for urinary tract infections and other conditions

Your provider will also order blood tests to:

  • Identify your blood type and Rh status
  • Look for anemia
  • Check for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and, in certain cases, hepatitis C
  • Determine immunity to rubella (German measles) and chickenpox

Discuss any high-risk pregnancy concerns. Many people are considered to have high-risk pregnancies , meaning there's a higher-than-average chance of health issues during pregnancy, labor, and birth. High-risk groups include those who:

  • Become pregnant for the first time at age 35 or older
  • Become pregnant for the first time before age 18
  • Have certain medical issues that develop during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
  • Have certain preexisting health problems, such as high blood pressure , thyroid disease , or type 1 or type 2 diabetes

High-risk pregnancies need extra care. While many potential complications are treatable or temporary, some can be dangerous to both you and your baby. Your provider will talk through the risks at your first visit and throughout your pregnancy – and don't be afraid to ask questions at any point.

Explain your options for prenatal genetic testing. Your provider will offer you various prenatal screenings that can give you information about your baby's risk for birth defects and chromosomal conditions. These tests include:

  • Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) , also called cell-free fetal DNA testing. Performed at 9 weeks or later, it's used to examine the little bits of your baby's DNA present in your blood.
  • A first trimester screen, also called a first-trimester combined test. Typically done between weeks 11 and 13, it consists of a blood test and a type of ultrasound called a nuchal translucency .
  • A carrier screening if you haven't had one already. It's a simple blood or saliva test done to see whether your baby is at risk for any of 100 genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and Tay-Sachs disease.

Finally, if you're high-risk, there are invasive genetic diagnostic tests that can tell you for sure whether your baby has Down syndrome or certain other conditions. These tests include chorionic villus sampling (CVS) , generally performed at 10 to 13 weeks, and amniocentesis , usually done at 16 to 20 weeks.

CVS and amniocentesis are invasive and may carry a small risk of miscarriage , so women who choose to have these procedures are usually those with a higher risk for genetic and chromosomal problems. Some moms-to-be choose to wait for the results of screening tests before deciding whether to have one of these diagnostic tests.

For more information, your provider can refer you to a genetic counselor .

Give you advice and let you know what's ahead. Your healthcare provider will give you information about eating well , foods to avoid , healthy weight gain , and prenatal vitamins . They'll also give you a heads-up about the common discomforts of early pregnancy and let you know which pregnancy symptoms require immediate attention .

Your emotional health is very important. Your provider may screen you for signs of depression during pregnancy . But don't wait to be asked. If you're feeling depressed or anxious, let your provider know so they can refer you to someone who can help.

The dangers of smoking , drinking alcohol, using drugs, and taking certain medications will be a topic of discussion, as well. If you need help quitting smoking or any other substance, your provider can recommend a program or counselor.

Other topics include the do's and don'ts of exercise , travel , and sex during pregnancy ; environmental and occupational hazards that can affect your baby; and how to avoid certain infections, such as toxoplasmosis . Your provider will also discuss recommended vaccinations , like the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine .

To help your visit go as smoothly as possible, try taking the following steps.

Review your medical history. Brush up on your health status so you can better answer questions. This includes information about your:

  • Overall physical and mental health
  • Current and past diseases, conditions and other health issues
  • Current medications, including prescriptions, supplements, vitamins and herbal supplements and teas
  • Fertility and pregnancy history
  • Family medical history
  • Partner's medical history

If possible, bring documentation along, such as immunization records or a list of your medications. You may even want to bring a baggie containing the medications themselves.

Take your partner, a family member, or friend. Another person can write down notes, ask questions, and provide emotional support during this information-dense first visit.

Get there on time or a little early. This can be helpful for filling out forms and reviewing your insurance. Make sure to bring your insurance information and cash or a credit card for any necessary co-pays.

Just as your provider will ask you questions at your first prenatal visit, it's a good idea to come prepared with a list of questions for your provider. Ask anything – and don't be shy. Again, try to keep a running list in the weeks before the appointment, so nothing important slips your mind.

Here are some questions to consider if your provider doesn't bring up the topic first.

  • How much weight gain is healthy for me? The first prenatal visit is a great opportunity to learn about how your body will change. It's also a good time to ask about nutrition, including which foods to prioritize in your diet.
  • What are the foods I should avoid ? Raw fish and unpasteurized cheeses are long-established no-no's for pregnant people, but ask your provider for a full list of what to skip, since the accepted wisdom has changed over the years. Ask about caffeine and alcohol, too. Coffee is typically alright in limited doses, but no amount of alcohol is considered safe when you're having a baby.
  • Are prenatal supplements a good choice? Your provider will likely recommend a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid and iron, both of which are needed more during pregnancy.
  • Can I exercise? What about sex? With some exceptions, both are usually okay when you're pregnant. They're important to discuss, however, since certain conditions may complicate matters.
  • Is it safe to keep working? If you have a physically or emotionally demanding job , you may want to ask how you can ease the effects on your body and mind.
  • Is travel okay? While planes, trains, and automobiles are typically safe well into pregnancy, people with particular complications may need to limit or avoid traveling.
  • Which medications are safe to take? Ask about your current prescriptions, herbal products, teas, supplements, and any over-the-counter drugs you may use, such as pain relievers and cold medicines. Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are not recommended, for example.
  • What are common symptoms of pregnancy? Your provider can tell you what to expect and how to cope. Remember to ask what symptoms are uncommon, too, and what red flags to watch for.
  • What should I do in an emergency? Find out who to contact and where to go if you begin to experience new, unusual, severe, or long-lasting symptoms.
  • Who will treat me over the course of my pregnancy? If your provider is part of a group practice, you may see other members of the group during appointments. They may even deliver your baby.
  • Do you recommend taking prenatal classes? Whether they're in a hospital, at a university, online, or somewhere else, prenatal classes can be invaluable learning experiences for parents-to-be. On top of the usual childbirth classes you hear about, you can also find courses in everything from stress management to good nutrition and even breastfeeding.

Last but not least, ask about your next visit and schedule the appointment before leaving the office. Until your 28th week of pregnancy, you'll likely see someone every four weeks or so.

You may also want to ask whether future visits will be in-person or virtual. Certain practices offer virtual visits for low-risk patients, those whose providers aren't close by, or even higher-risk patients that need to be evaluated more often.

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Prenatal visits: What to expect and how to prepare

doctor examining a pregnant women's belly with a stethoscope

What happens at second trimester prenatal appointments

Pregnant woman getting blood pressure checked

NIPT (Noninvasive prenatal testing)

close up of blood draw

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

woman having a CVS test

BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies .

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American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Your First Prenatal Visit. Opens a new window  [Accessed March 2024]

Kids Health. 2022. Prenatal Visits: First Trimester. Opens a new window  [Accessed March 2024]

Mount Sinai. 2021. Prenatal care in your first trimester. Opens a new window  [Accessed January 2024]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022. Recommended Clinician Timeline for Screening for Syphilis, HIV, HBV, HCV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. Opens a new window  [Accessed March 2024]

Alabama Perinatal Excellence Collaborative. 2015. APEC Guidelines for Routine Prenatal Care. Opens a new window  [Accessed March 2024]

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NIH: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 2017. What is a high-risk pregnancy? Opens a new window  [Accessed March 2024]

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NIH: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 2018. What are some factors that make a pregnancy high risk? Opens a new window  [Accessed March 2024]

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Kate Marple

Where to go next

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  • Pregnancy week by week

Prenatal care: 1st trimester visits

Pregnancy and prenatal care go hand in hand. During the first trimester, prenatal care includes blood tests, a physical exam, conversations about lifestyle and more.

Prenatal care is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Whether you choose a family physician, obstetrician, midwife or group prenatal care, here's what to expect during the first few prenatal appointments.

The 1st visit

When you find out you're pregnant, make your first prenatal appointment. Set aside time for the first visit to go over your medical history and talk about any risk factors for pregnancy problems that you may have.

Medical history

Your health care provider might ask about:

  • Your menstrual cycle, gynecological history and any past pregnancies
  • Your personal and family medical history
  • Exposure to anything that could be toxic
  • Medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements
  • Your lifestyle, including your use of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and recreational drugs
  • Travel to areas where malaria, tuberculosis, Zika virus, mpox — also called monkeypox — or other infectious diseases are common

Share information about sensitive issues, such as domestic abuse or past drug use, too. This will help your health care provider take the best care of you — and your baby.

Your due date is not a prediction of when you will have your baby. It's simply the date that you will be 40 weeks pregnant. Few people give birth on their due dates. Still, establishing your due date — or estimated date of delivery — is important. It allows your health care provider to monitor your baby's growth and the progress of your pregnancy. Your due date also helps with scheduling tests and procedures, so they are done at the right time.

To estimate your due date, your health care provider will use the date your last period started, add seven days and count back three months. The due date will be about 40 weeks from the first day of your last period. Your health care provider can use a fetal ultrasound to help confirm the date. Typically, if the due date calculated with your last period and the due date calculated with an early ultrasound differ by more than seven days, the ultrasound is used to set the due date.

Physical exam

To find out how much weight you need to gain for a healthy pregnancy, your health care provider will measure your weight and height and calculate your body mass index.

Your health care provider might do a physical exam, including a breast exam and a pelvic exam. You might need a Pap test, depending on how long it's been since your last Pap test. Depending on your situation, you may need exams of your heart, lungs and thyroid.

At your first prenatal visit, blood tests might be done to:

  • Check your blood type. This includes your Rh status. Rh factor is an inherited trait that refers to a protein found on the surface of red blood cells. Your pregnancy might need special care if you're Rh negative and your baby's father is Rh positive.
  • Measure your hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein found in red blood cells that allows the cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body. Hemoglobin also carries carbon dioxide from other parts of your body to your lungs so that it can be exhaled. Low hemoglobin or a low level of red blood cells is a sign of anemia. Anemia can make you feel very tired, and it may affect your pregnancy.
  • Check immunity to certain infections. This typically includes rubella and chickenpox (varicella) — unless proof of vaccination or natural immunity is documented in your medical history.
  • Detect exposure to other infections. Your health care provider will suggest blood tests to detect infections such as hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV , the virus that causes AIDS . A urine sample might also be tested for signs of a bladder or urinary tract infection.

Tests for fetal concerns

Prenatal tests can provide valuable information about your baby's health. Your health care provider will typically offer a variety of prenatal genetic screening tests. They may include ultrasound or blood tests to check for certain fetal genetic problems, such as Down syndrome.

Lifestyle issues

Your health care provider might discuss the importance of nutrition and prenatal vitamins. Ask about exercise, sex, dental care, vaccinations and travel during pregnancy, as well as other lifestyle issues. You might also talk about your work environment and the use of medications during pregnancy. If you smoke, ask your health care provider for suggestions to help you quit.

Discomforts of pregnancy

You might notice changes in your body early in your pregnancy. Your breasts might be tender and swollen. Nausea with or without vomiting (morning sickness) is also common. Talk to your health care provider if your morning sickness is severe.

Other 1st trimester visits

Your next prenatal visits — often scheduled about every four weeks during the first trimester — might be shorter than the first. Near the end of the first trimester — by about 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy — you might be able to hear your baby's heartbeat with a small device, called a Doppler, that bounces sound waves off your baby's heart. Your health care provider may offer a first trimester ultrasound, too.

Your prenatal appointments are an ideal time to discuss questions you have. During your first visit, find out how to reach your health care team between appointments in case concerns come up. Knowing help is available can offer peace of mind.

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  • Lockwood CJ, et al. Prenatal care: Initial assessment. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  • Prenatal care and tests. Office on Women's Health. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  • Cunningham FG, et al., eds. Prenatal care. In: Williams Obstetrics. 25th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2018. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  • Lockwood CJ, et al. Prenatal care: Second and third trimesters. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  • WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. World Health Organization. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  • Bastian LA, et al. Clinical manifestations and early diagnosis of pregnancy. Accessed July 9, 2018.

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Your First Prenatal Visit

If you did not meet with your health care provider before you were pregnant, your first prenatal visit will generally be around 8 weeks after your LMP (last menstrual period ). If this applies to you, you should schedule a prenatal visit as soon as you know you are pregnant!

Even if you are not a first-time mother, prenatal visits are still important since every pregnancy is different. This initial visit will probably be one of the longest. It will be helpful if you arrive prepared with vital dates and information. This is also a good opportunity to bring a list of questions that you and your partner have about your pregnancy, prenatal care, and birth options.

What to Expect at Your First Pregnancy Appointment

Your doctor will ask for your medical history, including:.

  • Medical and/or psychosocial problems
  • Blood pressure, height, and weight
  • Breast and cervical exam
  • Date of your last menstrual period (an accurate LMP is helpful when determining gestational age and due date)
  • Birth control methods
  • History of abortions and/or miscarriages
  • Hospitalizations
  • Medications you are taking
  • Medication allergies
  • Your family’s medical history

Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam which will include a pap smear , cervical cultures, and possibly an ultrasound if there is a question about how far along you are or if you are experiencing any bleeding or cramping .

Blood will be drawn and several laboratory tests will also be done, including:

  • Hemoglobin/ hematocrit
  • Rh Factor and blood type (if Rh negative, rescreen at 26-28 weeks)
  • Rubella screen
  • Varicella or history of chickenpox, rubella, and hepatitis vaccine
  • Cystic Fibrosis screen
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Tay Sach’s screen
  • Sickle Cell prep screen
  • Hemoglobin levels
  • Hematocrit levels
  • Specific tests depending on the patient, such as testing for tuberculosis and Hepatitis C

Your healthcare provider will probably want to discuss:

  • Recommendations concerning dental care , cats, raw meat, fish, and gardening
  • Fevers and medications
  • Environmental hazards
  • Travel limitations
  • Miscarriage precautions
  • Prenatal vitamins , supplements, herbs
  • Diet , exercise , nutrition , weight gain
  • Physician/ midwife rotation in the office

Possible questions to ask your provider during your prenatal appointment:

  • Is there a nurse line that I can call if I have questions?
  • If I experience bleeding or cramping, do I call you or your nurse?
  • What do you consider an emergency?
  • Will I need to change my habits regarding sex, exercise, nutrition?
  • When will my next prenatal visit be scheduled?
  • What type of testing do you recommend and when are they to be done? (In case you want to do research the tests to decide if you want them or not.)

If you have not yet discussed labor and delivery issues with your doctor, this is a good time. This helps reduce the chance of surprises when labor arrives. Some questions to ask include:

  • What are your thoughts about natural childbirth ?
  • What situations would warrant a Cesarean ?
  • What situations would warrant an episiotomy ?
  • How long past my expected due date will I be allowed to go before intervening?
  • What is your policy on labor induction?

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Table of Contents

Questions about your body and your health, questions about your doctor & delivery.

Early pregnancy often feels very abstract—all you have to show for it are two pink lines on a stick . Once you call your doctor’s office to tell them you’re pregnant (the receptionist is probably the first person you’ll tell besides your partner), they probably won’t have you come in until you’re somewhere between seven and ten weeks along. This is to ensure your appointment is far enough along to hear a heartbeat, but it also means you’ll have a lot of time to prep for that exciting and nerve-wracking first prenatal appointment, where it all starts to feel a little more real.

So how do you prepare for your first prenatal appointment? There’s not a ton you need to do, but there are a few things that will help ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. First, think about when your last period started—your pregnancy begins on the first day of your last period (so for the first two-ish weeks of your official pregnancy, you actually aren’t pregnant—weird).  

You’ll also want to inventory any medications or supplements you take and think about anything from your medical history that may not be clearly outlined in your chart. For example, maybe your mom gave birth prematurely, you have irregular periods, or you’ve had a previous chemical pregnancy. But most of all, you’ll want to prep some questions to ask at your first prenatal visit. While your mind is spinning with excitement and your growing to-do list, we’re here to help you check off that last box. 

You don’t need to ask all of these questions at your first appointment—you can pick and choose which are most relevant to you and decide what you need to know now versus what can wait for your next appointment. But it’s good to look over all of them, so you can be prepared to get answers, especially for things that are non-negotiables for you. For example, if you’re hoping for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and your doctor or hospital is hesitant to do them, it’s probably time to look for a new provider. And the earlier you can do that, the better.

Read on for a comprehensive look at the questions you may want to consider asking at your first prenatal appointment, whether it’s your first pregnancy or your fifth.

How should I think about my exercise routine during my pregnancy? 

If your doctor so far has been Google, you will know that there are conflicting takes about basically every type of exercise and pregnancy . ( No hot yoga during pregnancy! But do all the exercise you normally do! ). So, it’s helpful to get a medical professional’s insight on how much you should be exercising and how your routine should or shouldn’t change. 

What should I know about sex during pregnancy?

Your doctor’s advice may change by trimester, but it’s good to start having the conversation early. They’ll probably tell you anything goes (as long as you’re comfortable), but in cases where there’s a history of certain conditions like placental issues or pre-term labor, your doctor may want you to exercise caution or abstain (sorry!).

Based on my medical history, does it appear that I’m at risk for any complications?

It’s better to have all the information you need upfront, right? For example, certain things like having frequent migraines, diabetes, or polycystic ovary syndrome may put you at an increased risk of preeclampsia 1   . Your doctor will be able to give you the broad strokes during this first visit of what you should and—even more importantly—shouldn’t worry about based on your history. 

How long can I travel? And can I go on an international trip?

I had to reschedule a trip to Mexico when I was pregnant with my son because my doctor felt it was planned for a time that was too late in my pregnancy. I’m very glad I asked at that first appointment and had plenty of time to make changes.

What symptoms are not considered normal and warrant an immediate call to your office?

Many women (myself included) will have the urge to call their doctor over every little cramp and twinge. While you should feel empowered to ask your doctor anything and everything, there are some pregnancy symptoms they will definitely want you to contact them about, like bleeding or pain. They can also give you guidelines on the things you might experience that could cause you concern, especially if this is your first, but that are perfectly normal during pregnancy. 

What medicine can I take?

You may be surprised by which medications are pregnancy-safe and which are not. You can (and probably should) Google before you take any medication, but the internet can be a confusing place, so it’s good to have a doctor’s sign-off, especially on any regular meds you take.

What foods do I really need to avoid? What is okay in moderation?

If you’re like me, you’ll have lots of questions like, “I know sushi is generally a ‘no,’ but what if it’s from a high-quality restaurant? And do I really need to give up Brie?” Your doctor will be able to give you guidelines on the foods that could put you and your baby at risk of listeria or toxoplasmosis (aka definitely don’t eat), and the ones that are on the avoid list, but that, if they do make you sick, will be no worse for you than it would be if you weren’t pregnant. 

What beauty products should I steer clear of? 

Sorry, but your retinol will probably have to take a backseat. Your doctor will explain any skincare ingredients to avoid and sneaky places they may be hiding.

Can I clean a litter box? Garden? Dye my hair?

There are a variety of activities that everyone talks about avoiding during pregnancy. Take a look at your normal habits and ask your doctor about anything that you’re concerned about. They can give you guidelines on what you do and don’t need to change. 

What is your stance on the occasional drink?

If you survey your parent friends, you’ll probably find that some completely avoided alcohol for all 40 weeks, while others had an occasional beer or glass of wine later in pregnancy. (French women, yada yada). Depending on how by the book your doctor is, they may give you the ACOG answer 2   (there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy) or something a little more nuanced about how it’s impossible to study alcohol and pregnancy, so they don’t know for sure. Either way, it’s a good idea to get their opinion before you make the decision that’s right for you.

What are weight gain expectations for this pregnancy? Does it change if I didn’t shed all the weight from the first pregnancy?

Your doctor will be able to address all your questions about weight and pregnancy, including any complications associated with gaining too little or too much. The first appointment is a good time to set expectations for future conversations about weight, whether it’s not wanting to know the number on the scale (something I’m really glad I asked for) or opting out of weight checks altogether.

What can I do for constipation and hemorrhoids?

Just trust me, you’re going to want to know.

What do you recommend I do to prepare for birth?

Sure, this is your first appointment, but it’s never too early to start getting ready for the big day. Your doctor may recommend specific books, exercises, Instagram accounts they like, or even a doula or birth class. It’s a good idea to start figuring out your options early so that you have plenty of time to do the birth-prep exercises or start interviewing doulas. 

What is the best way for me to contact you with non-urgent questions?

You’re going to have a lot of questions, and not all of them need to be answered right away. Does your doctor like to be messaged through the patient portal? Would they prefer you leave a message with the receptionist? How long should you expect to wait to get an answer? And what should you do for urgent questions?

Does your doctor have any travel planned?

Now’s the time to find out if your doctor has an African safari planned around your due date. If they do have vacation or extended time off on the calendar during your pregnancy, it’s important to know who you’ll see instead and what the practice’s plans are for coverage.

Who will deliver my baby if you are not on call?

So much of having a good birth experience is feeling comfortable with your team. For that reason, it can be nice to get to know the other doctors in the practice who could potentially deliver your baby or at least familiarize yourself with who it could be.

How much past 40 weeks will you allow me to go?

Doctors have many different stances on how long past 40 weeks they’ll allow patients to go, so this question is important to ask. Some research shows 3   that inducing after 41 weeks lowers the risk of stillbirth and other complications, like meconium aspiration (when babies breathe in their waste). Some will insist on inducing earlier than 41 weeks, and some may let you go up to 42 weeks. It’s good to know their policy regardless, but if you have a specific preference, you will want to make sure your doctor’s policies are in alignment.

What is your policy on _______?

Pick and choose the questions on policies that are meaningful for you here. Some doctors, for example, are not trained on instrument-assisted deliveries, so in the event that you would need one (if you fatigue from pushing or the baby is in distress), you’d instead have an emergency C-section. (I did not think to ask this question myself, but I will if I have future pregnancies, as my son was born assisted by vacuum when his heart rate began to drop). Some situations to consider asking about: 

Scheduled c-sections

Pain management


Intermittent vs continuous monitoring

Instrument-assisted deliveries (forceps or vacuum)

VBACs (This will only be relevant to you if you’ve previously had one or more caesareans and are hoping for a vaginal delivery)

What is the cadence of my appointments?

Your ob-gyn practice may set up all your appointments, or at least all of them through 20 weeks, at that very first prenatal appointment. Generally, you’ll go monthly up until about 28 weeks, then every other week until 36 weeks when you begin weekly appointments. But this is a good time to let the office know if a certain day or time doesn’t work for you and how they handle scheduling. 

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Grace Gallagher is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. Her work focuses on parenting, health, and beauty and has appeared in Parents, Romper, Pregnancy & Newborn, Shape, InStyle, and more.

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10 Questions to Ask Your OBGYN at the First Prenatal Visit

10 Questions to Ask Your OBGYN at the First Prenatal Visit

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Congratulations, you are pregnant! After peeing on countless sticks, you are ready to see your OBGYN for that first prenatal appointment. A new pregnancy can fill you with so many emotions, ranging from excited to nervous to anxious. But, the first prenatal appointment can be an excellent time to get to know your OBGYN or Midwife as well as answer all your prenatal questions about what to expect in the coming months and hopefully relieve some of your anxiety.

As an OBGYN/fertility doctor and also having been in the shoes of a pregnant patient myself in the past (and currently!), I have a unique perspective on what is typically discussed at the first visit as well as what questions may still arise.

What to Expect at Your First Prenatal Visit

Before diving into the questions to ask your OBGYN, it's important to know what typically happens during the first prenatal visit . This visit is a cornerstone in your pregnancy journey, setting the stage for your prenatal care . Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:

  • A Comprehensive Health Evaluation : Your OBGYN or Midwife will start with a thorough health assessment, including your medical history, family history, and any previous pregnancies. This step is necessary for tailoring your prenatal care to your specific needs.
  • Physical Examination : Expect a general physical exam , including checking your blood pressure , weight, and height. Your doctor may also perform a pelvic exam to check the uterus and pelvis and a Pap smear if you're due for one.
  • Lab Tests : Several blood tests are standard during the first visit to check for blood type, Rh factor, iron levels, and possible exposure to infections. Urine tests are also common to screen for urinary tract infections and to check the levels of protein and sugar.
  • Ultrasound : While not always performed at the first visit, an early ultrasound may be done to confirm the pregnancy, determine the due date, and rule out ectopic pregnancy. This is also a chance to see your baby for the first time.
  • Discussion about Your Health and Pregnancy : This is where your prepared questions come into play. Your prenatal care provider will discuss your health and lifestyle as it relates to your pregnancy and what changes you may need to make to ensure a healthy pregnancy journey.
  • Setting Expectations for Future Visits : Before you leave, your healthcare provider will outline the schedule for your prenatal appointments and discuss any immediate changes you should make in your lifestyle, diet, or medication regimen.

As you get ready for your first visit, consider asking the following 10 questions as you embark on your pregnancy journey:

1. Confirm your due date

You may be 1000% sure of your due date because you were tracking your periods and ovulation and timing intercourse (or you may have no clue!), but you should confirm your dates with your OBGYN as they may change depending on when ovulation and implantation occurred.

2. What lifestyle changes should be made?

Important questions to ask include: which foods should be avoided in pregnancy, exposures to environmental toxins, avoidance of certain beauty products (say goodbye to using retinol while pregnant!), recommendations on sleep and travel, etc.

3. What is an appropriate amount of weight gain in pregnancy?

Weight gain in pregnancy is normal and expected as the fetus grows, however, recommendations will vary on the amount of expected weight gain based on your pre-pregnancy BMI (measurement of your height and weight) with most of the weight gain occurring in the second and third trimesters. In general, pregnant individuals who have a normal BMI (18.4-24.9) can gain 25-35 lbs in pregnancy, those with a low BMI (< 18.4) can gain up to 40 pounds in pregnancy and individuals with a BMI over 30 should keep weight gain to 20 pounds.

4. What pregnancy symptoms can you expect each trimester?

Each trimester of pregnancy brings with it different symptoms you may experience, like fatigue, insomnia, and morning sickness, to name a few, and your OBGYN can be a great resource to let you know what is normal and what may require additional evaluation.

5. Which vitamins and/or supplements to be on

It is important to ask about any medications you may be on as well as any recommendations regarding prenatal vitamins. While it is best to start prenatal supplements prior to conception, if you haven’t started one yet, ACOG recommends a daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

6. What should you do in regards to exercise?

Exercise in pregnancy is safe and, in general, recommended for almost all pregnant and postpartum individuals. Exercise has been shown to increase the incidence of vaginal delivery, encourage healthy weight gain, reduce stress and anxiety as well as reducing the incidence of cesarean delivery, gestational diabetes and gestational high blood pressure . Depending on the type of exercise you perform, you may need to make modifications to your routine. As always, discuss with your OBGYN your own unique pregnancy and medical history regarding exercise.

7. How often will you be seen for prenatal appointments?

As you prepare for your prenatal appointments, you will find that (for uncomplicated pregnancies) appointments are usually every 4 weeks for the first 28 weeks, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks and then weekly thereafter until delivery. It is helpful to understand the flow of appointments and even schedule them in advance as OBGYN schedules can get full quickly.

8. Who will deliver you?

This is often a common question we get asked about who will be doing your delivery. Every clinic is different so it is important to discuss. In the past, many OBGYNs worked in solo or dual practices where it was almost guaranteed your own physician would deliver you. However, as a physician, those hours can be grueling so many practices now have multiple OBGYNs that will rotate in a call pool for delivery. Oftentimes you will be managed by the OBGYN you choose, but you will also likely see other OBGYns in their group so you can get to know several of the doctors in case one of them delivers you. If knowing exactly who will deliver you is extremely important, that may impact which OBGYN you ultimealtry choose to see.

9. Recommendations on genetic testing?

Your OBGYN will typically discuss options for genetic testing for the pregnancy that may range from non-invasive prenatal testing to more invasive options depending on your personal medical and pregnancy history as well as age.

10. What to know about your chronic medical conditions and possible impact on pregnancy?

If you have chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorders etc. your doctor will likely talk to you about their possible impact on pregnancy and outcomes. You should discuss whether any medication you are taking for chronic medical conditions are safe in pregnancy and if the dose should be adjusted. Additionally, you should ask if you will need any additional follow-up or monitoring due to any chronic medical conditions.

As you navigate your first prenatal appointment, I always recommend writing down your questions in advance so you remember to ask what you need as those appointments can also feel overwhelming and it is easy to forget your own questions. Another tip is to bring your partner, a friend, or family member with you (if it is allowed) so they are able to take notes and listen to the advice and instruction as well!

If you find that you forgot to ask some of these questions, no worries. You have plenty of future visits to discuss with your provider!

Temeka Zore , MD, is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist currently practicing at Spring Fertility in San Francisco. She enjoys taking care of a wide range of reproductive and fertility issues but has a special passion for fertility preservation and educating and empowering women regarding their reproductive health. Follow her on Instagram @temekazoremd .

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Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


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Your Guide to Prenatal Appointments

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Typical prenatal appointment schedule

Read this next, what happens during a prenatal care appointment, what tests will i receive at my prenatal appointments, what will i talk about with my practitioner at prenatal care appointments , first trimester prenatal appointments: what to expect, second trimester prenatal appointments: what to expect, third trimester prenatal appointments: what to expect, questions to ask during prenatal appointments  .

Prenatal care visits are chock-full of tests, measurements, questions and concerns, but know that throughout the process your and your baby’s wellbeing are the main focus. Keep your schedule organized so you don’t miss any appointments and jot down anything you want to discuss with your doctor and your prenatal experience should end up being both positive and rewarding.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting , 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,  Having a Baby After Age 35: How Aging Affects Fertility and Pregnancy , 2020. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,  Routine Tests During Pregnancy , 2020. US Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health,  Prenatal Care and Tests , January 2019. Journal of Perinatology ,  Number of Prenatal Visits and Pregnancy Outcomes in Low-risk wWomen , June 2016. Mayo Clinic,  Edema , October 2017. Mayo Clinic,  Prenatal Care: 2nd Trimester Visits , August 2020. Mayo Clinic,  Prenatal Care: 3rd Trimester Visits , August 2020. Jennifer Leighdon Wu, M.D., Women’s Health of Manhattan, New York, NY., Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment , April 2019., Prenatal Testing During Pregnancy , March 2019.,  Urine Tests During Pregnancy , May 2019.,  Fetal Heartbeat: The Development of Baby’s Circulatory System , April 2019.,  Amniocentesis , Mary 2019.,  Ultrasound During Pregnancy , April 2019.,  Rh Factor Testing , June 2019.,  Glucose Screening and Glucose Tolerance Test , April 2019., Nuchal Translucency Screening , April 2019., Group B Strep Testing During Pregnancy , August 2019.,  The Nonstress Test During Pregnancy , April 2019.,  Biophysical Profile (BPP) , May 2019.,  Noninvasive Prenatal Testing , (NIPT), April 2019.,  The Quad Screen , February 2019.,  Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) , February 2019.,  The First Prenatal Appointment , June 2019.,  Breech Birth: What it Means for You , September 2018.

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8 Things You Must Ask at Your First Prenatal Visit

Your first prenatal doctor visit  is an important time for us to evaluate your pregnancy so we can start a care plan tailored just for you.

We understand that you may have many questions when it comes to prenatal care, and often pregnancy can feel overwhelming. You may not even realize what questions you should ask.

We’re glad to answer any concerns you have, and for your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of what questions to ask your doctor at your first prenatal visit.

What Questions to Ask Your Doctor on First Prenatal Visit?

1. what adjustments should i make to my diet.

First, you should eliminate any alcohol immediately. You’ll also need to take caffeine in moderation—we recommend no more than one cup per day—and you should eliminate deli meat and certain fish.

We’ll also give you tips on what you can add to your diet to enhance both your health and the health of your baby.

2. Are My Current Medications Safe to Take?

We always want to have a complete medical record of all the medications that you’re taking, especially any herbal ones. This is important because herbal remedies can sometimes have interactions with your other medications, and others may not be safe for your baby.

Don’t worry; we can give you the answers you need.

3. Does My Medical History Put Me at Risk for Certain Conditions?

Some conditions, such as gestational diabetes, may have a genetic component. We’ll want to know all about your medical history to get an overall view of your health risks. This will help us serve you better.

4. How Much Sleep Do I Need?

It’s no secret that most Americans are sleep deprived.  As your baby grows, it will be even more important for your body to get adequate sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, we can recommend some techniques that can help you.

5. What Will My Appointment Schedules Be Like?

We understand. The busy array of appointments can be overwhelming. We’ll make a clear schedule for you so you can plan and know what to expect. You can explore this topic in greater detail in a previous post where we follow your pregnancy month-to-month.

6. What Kind of Exercise is Safe During Pregnancy?

We encourage all of our patients to have a regular exercise routine in order to keep them healthy. However, you should avoid high-impact exercises or full-contact exercises. We can discuss what your current exercise regimen was prior to pregnancy and tailor it as needed for pregnancy. We can provide an exercise plan for you.

7. What Vitamins Should I Take?

If you’ve been trying to conceive, you should have been taking a prenatal vitamin. But if you haven’t been, don’t worry, we’ll recommend which ones you should take. Folic acid is extremely important, and we recommend that pregnant women take 800 micrograms every day. We will also review your current calcium intake and calculate if any additional calcium sources should be added to your daily routine.

We also suggest:

  • Prenatal vitamins

8. When Should I Have Ultrasounds?

There are generally two ultrasounds that we schedule during your pregnancy. One is during the first trimester, once during the second.

During the third trimester, our patients At Associates in Women’s Healthcare, have the option of having a 3D/4D ultrasound where you can see your baby’s face for the first time! Contact us to learn more.

What Happens at the First Prenatal Visit?

Our goal of the first prenatal visit is to get a snapshot of your health and run a few basic tests to help us tailor your care to fit the individual needs of you and your baby.

Some of the things you can expect at a first prenatal checkup include:

  • A general checkup, where we take your height and weight, measure your blood pressure, and take other vital signs.
  • A confirmation of pregnancy
  • A urine test
  • If you are due for any routine screening tests, they will likely be done at this time to make sure there are not any undiagnosed health problems.

We Want You And Baby to Get the Healthiest Start Possible

At Associates in Women’s Healthcare, we’re more than health care professionals—many of us are moms as well. We have helped thousands of women throughout the Triangle area have healthy babies. If you’re pregnant—or if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, we encourage you to contact us and schedule an appointment today.

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Your First Prenatal Visit Checklist

Your First Prenatal Visit Checklist

You will have many doctor's visits over the course of nine months but that first prenatal visit can be the most exciting. A positive urine or blood test for pregnancy is one thing, but having the doctor or midwife talk to you about the upcoming changes and fetal growth, helps the reality of your pregnancy sink in. This visit makes things real. 

Learn more about doctor's visits and testing in the first trimester !

With so much excitement, a checklist is important to help you remember all the things you can expect and should ask. Asking question swill also help you get a feel of the doctor's bedside manner and opinions on pregnancy care, labor, and delivery. You will likely leave with a due date and advice on eating healthy , exercising safely , and taking vitamins .

What should happen at the first prenatal visit?

         Full medical history          General health check-up          Internal pelvic exam          Cervical exam          First round of prenatal blood tests          First round of prenatal urine tests          Discussion about genetic testing          Initial ultrasound, if the doctor has an ultrasound machine in the office          Discussion about future fetal and maternal changes

Questions to ask

         How many pounds should I gain during pregnancy?          When should weight gain start?          Does my health history suggest an increased risk for certain              conditions or complications?          What prenatal screenings will I need?          Is there a specific pregnancy diet I should follow?          Is exercise allowed/suggested during pregnancy?          Is sex acceptable throughout pregnancy?          Can I travel by train, plane and/or car?          What beauty treatments are safe during pregnancy?          Is there a list of over-the-counter medications I can take?          Are my current prescription medications safe during?          What prenatal vitamin is best?          Are there any other supplements I should take?          What is the best way to combat morning sickness?          What symptoms can I expect and how long should they last?          Do you advocate certain prenatal classes?          Whom do I call if I have cramping, spotting, or bleeding?          If you are out of town, who will be my primary caregiver?          Will I see the same doctor for each appointment?          When will the first ultrasound be scheduled?          Will I hear the baby’s heartbeat every visit?          Who or where should I call if I have further questions?          Who will deliver my baby?

Medical history

The first prenatal visit will most likely be the longest due to gathering a full prenatal medical history. Try to write down as much health history as you can before you go, ask your parents for their history, as well as what they know about whether any diseases run in the family.

Read More: Prenatal Pregnancy Tests Prenatal Care in the Age of COVID Why Do Doctors Measure Your Stomach at Prenatal Visits?

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9 Questions to Ask at Your First Prenatal Appointment

what questions to ask first pregnancy doctor visit

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! You are probably feeling a lot of different things right now– excitement, nervousness, uncertainty, joy, disbelief and just about every other emotion under the sun. When you go to your first appointment (usually at 8 to 10 weeks) you can calm a few of those emotions by having a plan and a list of questions to ask your doctor. You may have your own questions ready, but also consider these nine questions to ask at your first prenatal appointment:

1. What lifestyle changes do I need to make immediately?

Once you learn you are pregnant, you’ll need to change some things about your lifestyle right away. Depending on your habits pre-pregnancy, these changes may seem drastic or they might not be super noticeable. Either way, you will not have a problem making these changes for the good of your child (and your own health while carrying the child, which is top priority).

Here are some things to discuss at the beginning of the pregnancy to avoid possible negative effects:

  • Diet: Obviously, alcohol should be cut out immediately. Caffeine should be limited and some other foods should be eliminated (usually deli meat, unpasteurized cheese, certain fish). Your doctor will give you a written list of what to avoid and explain why you should do so. They can also give guidance on what kind of foods and drinks to add or increase in your diet.
  • Medication: This is so important because many medications are not safe for use during pregnancy. Both over the counter medications and prescriptions should be looked at as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Working with your doctor, you can decide what is safe to keep taking and at what dosages. And if you need to come off of a certain important medication, they can help you come up with a plan to discontinue use as some are dangerous to discontinue cold turkey. When possible, they may be able to prescribe an alternative.
  • Sleep habits: If you aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, consider changing your sleep habits. Your body will be going through a lot of changes in the coming months, so adequate rest is important. You’ll also want to be well rested before those sleepless newborn nights start.
  • Work environment: Ask if your occupation or work environment might pose any risks. Make sure you aren’t exposed to chemicals or toxins that could be harmful. Work with your care team as well as a safety manager at your job.
  • Beauty products: If you’re worried about certain beauty products being safe for your baby during pregnancy, check with your doctor. A lot of women are concerned about hair dye, nail polish or treatments (especially chemicals present in some nail salons), sunless tanning lotions, retinols, serums, and essential oils. Your doctor can help steer you in the right direction for making safe choices where these products are concerned. You can also ask about massages or other spa treatments.

2. What things am I at risk for given my personal history?

This is a very important question to ask from the very beginning of your pregnancy. Pregnancy is not an illness by any means, and the human body is built for it. However, pregnancy can still put a lot of stress on your body, especially if you already have a condition that can be worsened.

Chances are if you continue care with your regular OB/GYN your doctor will know most of your medical history. But if you’re using a new doctor due to your pregnancy or for any other reason, you need to be sure they know everything. And it never hurts for a current doctor to go back over and re-check history.

If you have specific concerns your doctor does not address, be sure to speak up. Some common conditions that are important to note include, but aren’t limited to: depression, seizures, high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid issues. Any problems with anesthesia, antibiotics, medication, or surgeries should also be brought to your doctor’s attention.

3. What will the frequency of my appointment be?

In order to have an idea of the big picture of your pregnancy care, talk to your doctor about the base number of prenatal appointments you can expect. They’ll want to schedule the appointments regularly and the frequency will increase the further along you get in your pregnancy. The actual number will depend on your individual needs but in general you can expect to see the doctor more near the due date.

4. What vitamins do I need to take?

If you were actively trying to conceive, then you might have been taking a prenatal vitamin before you got pregnant. But if you got pregnant unexpectedly, or weren’t on a prenatal vitamin, your doctor will recommend you start taking one.  He or she will give you guidance on what to look for in a vitamin if they do not prescribe one or recommend a specific brand.

5. What exercise can/should I be doing?

Staying active during pregnancy is important. If you are fit while you’re pregnant, recovery could be easier depending on how labor goes. Exercise and general fitness can also help you feel better both mentally and physically throughout the pregnancy. Many exercise regimens, excluding extreme examples, are safe as long as you feel physically comfortable. However, you should follow your doctor’s instructions on what kind of exercise is appropriate.

6. How much weight should I gain?

The amount of weight you should gain will depend on how much you weighed before you were pregnant. Your doctor can give you a more precise number or range but generally, women with healthy pre-pregnancy weights should gain 25-30 pounds. Women who are underweight should gain about 40 pounds and overweight women should gain 11 to 20 pounds. These weights can change based on your unique circumstances.

7. What about prenatal testing?

During your pregnancy, certain prenatal screenings are required whereas others may be optional. You can expect to have blood work done in the first and second trimester. You can also expect a test to determine whether or not you have gestational diabetes. Genetic testing is also available. What kind of genetic testing you get or if you decide to get it, is a personal decision and you should talk to your doctor about the risks and what certain results might mean, including false positives.

8. What is normal and what should I call you about? And when should I call 911 or go directly to the hospital?

Speak with your doctor about what is normal or common or when you need to call about problems. Make sure you’re clear on what is “normal” for your stage of pregnancy as you go along. But always err on the side of caution. Also ask the best way to contact your doctor with ask questions (email, phone, online patient portal) and who you should call in certain situations.

You should also know who to call in case of a medical emergency and where you should go. This might change based on how far along in your pregnancy you are.

9. What should I start considering to prepare my birth plan?

It might seem premature to start thinking about your delivery since you’re just at the beginning of your pregnancy, but in reality, the sooner you start talking with your doctor about your options and preferences, the more comfortable you’ll feel when the day gets closer. Some things to discuss with your doctor regarding a birth plan include:

  • Birth location: You probably already know which hospital your OB/GYN is affiliated with, but this is still a topic worth discussing. Some people prefer to deliver at birthing centers or at home. If you want to go this route, the sooner your doctor knows, the better so everyone is on the same page.
  • Care philosophy: It’s important to know your provider’s views on vaginal labor, C-sections, induced labor, epidurals, delivering without pain medication, etc.
  • Who will actually deliver the baby? Will it be the doctor you see for your regular appointments or someone else? As mentioned above, if you’re planning on delivery outside of a hospital, your doctor might not be the one delivering the baby, so midwives or doulas may need to be part of the discussion.

At Green Valley OB/GYN we have extensive experience in managing both high-risk and low-risk pregnancies. And when you’re at the beginning of your pregnancy we know you will have a lot of questions and concerns. Call (336) 378-1110 to make an appointment at our Greensboro office. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and we have an on-call physician available 24/7 in case of emergencies.

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This place is AMAZING. I cannot stress enough how much I love Green Valley OBGYN. Everyone is so friendly and caring. There’s almost no wait time. I’ve recommended this place to friends and family.


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9 essential questions to ask during your first prenatal visit

prenatal visit: pregnant woman holding her belly

Aleksandar Nakic/Getty Images

From 'Who will deliver me?' to 'Can I keep exercising?', write these down.

By Dr. Sarah Bjorkman Updated March 3, 2022

You’re pregnant! You confirmed it with a ridiculous number of home pregnancy tests, started dreaming of baby names… and are wondering what to do next.

The first few weeks of your pregnancy can be one of the most exciting and overwhelming of your life, filled with a seemingly infinite  number of questions . Take a deep breath, grab a pencil and write down some of those pressing questions, because you’ll want to have them with you at your first prenatal visit with your obstetrician or  midwife .

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The first prenatal visit usually happens between weeks 8 and 10, but it’s a good idea to let your provider know as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.

Here are the questions you should ask during your first prenatal appointment

1. Who will deliver me?

At your first visit, it’s a good idea to meet the doctors and midwives in the practice and to get a feel for their birth philosophy. The  hospital they deliver at , the number of providers in the group and the options you have for your birth are important details you’ll want to know to help you decide whether the group is a good fit for you.

2. How much weight should I gain?

This depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Your provider will calculate your BMI to help guide the discussion about healthy weight gain during pregnancy, though remember that these are just guidelines—not prescriptive parameters. As a general rule, women at a healthy weight should gain between 25 and 30 pounds, women who are underweight should gain nearly 40 pounds and women who are overweight or obese should gain 11 to 20 pounds during their pregnancy.

3. Can I continue exercising?

If you have a pre-pregnancy regimen you enjoy, your doctor will likely advise you to continue. If you do not yet have an  exercise regimen , they will probably encourage you to start one! Exercise helps maintain appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, and some studies have shown that it may decrease your risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean delivery.

4. What should I do about my history with certain health conditions?

One of the most important things to talk with your provider about during your first prenatal visit is your health history. Pregnancy is generally a state of wellness, but can put great stress on your body, exacerbating certain health conditions. Some common conditions that affect pregnancy include diabetes, high blood pressure, seizures, hypo- and hyperthyroidism and depression, but be sure to tell your OB about any health issues you’ve had, as special medical adjustments may be necessary. Also let them know about any surgeries you’ve had or any problems with antibiotics or anesthesia.

5. Are all my medications safe for pregnancy?

Take a list of all the medications, herbs and supplements you are currently taking to your appointment. Some medications can cause birth defects or could negatively affect your pregnancy, so your provider may have you stop or change what you’re taking.

6. Should I be taking a  prenatal vitamin ?

Yes! While it’s best to  start taking prenatal vitamins  prior to conception, it’s never too late to start. Ask your doctor whether there is a prenatal vitamin they recommend or whether they know of one that’s covered by your insurance.

7. What type of genetic screening should I get?

There are many different options for genetic screening that your doctor can offer you. These are based on how far along you are in your pregnancy and what risk factors you have. Your doctor should be able to outline all the tests available to you—just be sure to clarify which ones are covered by your insurance.

8. Should I get a Covid vaccine?

Yes. A growing body of research shows that pregnant women with Covid symptoms are  40% more likely to deliver their babies prematurely  and are at least two to three times more likely to be admitted to the ICU with severe symptoms than non-pregnant people. All major U.S. health organizations and maternal-fetal associations strongly urge pregnant women or those thinking about becoming pregnant to get vaccinated against Covid. Studies also show that getting the Covid vaccine in pregnancy  can provide your newborn with protection against the virus . Be sure to talk to your doctor about this, too.

9. Who should I call if I have questions or concerns?

Most practices have a phone number where a nurse or provider can be reached 24 hours a day if you have questions or concerns, or if you think you’re in labor. This is important, because babies tend to not respect business hours, so make sure you have the after-hours emergency number before you leave.

If your first prenatal visit flies by and you happen to forget a question or two, don’t worry. You’ll see your provider many more times before your due date and should have lots of opportunities to ask more questions.

The Initial Consultation – What to Expect?

At your first prenatal visit, typically scheduled around the eighth week of pregnancy, your healthcare provider will gather a thorough medical history, conduct a physical examination, and perform necessary laboratory tests. This first consultation serves as an essential opportunity to discuss any concerns, clarify doubts, and receive crucial advice on maintaining a healthy pregnancy .

Understanding Your Estimated Due Date

The first question that pops up in most expectant mothers’ minds is, “ When is my baby due? “. While there are numerous apps and online calculators that can estimate your due date based on your last menstrual period, ovulation date, or conception date, these tools may not be 100% accurate. Your healthcare provider can provide a more precise estimated due date based on your last menstrual period and a dating ultrasound. Although only a small percentage of women deliver on their actual due date, knowing it can help track milestones and schedule necessary tests and appointments.

Navigating Dietary Changes and Supplements

During pregnancy, your body undergoes significant changes, and your dietary needs adjust accordingly. One crucial query to raise during your first prenatal visit pertains to food – “ What should I be eating more of, and what should I avoid? “. Your healthcare provider will provide personalized advice based on your current health status, dietary habits, and specific needs during pregnancy.

Moreover, you should also discuss the necessary supplements required during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins, DHA, and sometimes additional supplements like iron tablets are commonly recommended.

Gaining Insight into Pregnancy Symptoms

Each pregnancy is unique, and so are the symptoms that accompany it. While some women may experience prominent signs right from the early weeks, others might go through their first trimester with minimal discomfort. It is beneficial to ask your healthcare provider about what symptoms you can expect during your pregnancy and how to manage them effectively.

Monitoring Weight Gain

A healthy weight gain is integral to a healthy pregnancy. However, the amount and rate of weight gain can vary greatly among women. It is influenced by factors such as your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), number of babies you’re carrying, and any underlying health conditions. Therefore, asking about the recommended weight gain for your specific situation is a crucial question to pose at your first prenatal visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What questions do they ask at your first prenatal appointment.

Expect questions about your health history, your menstrual cycle, and any past pregnancies. Your provider wants to understand your health and any risks to your pregnancy. They’ll ask about medications, lifestyle, and family health history too.

How do I prepare for my first prenatal appointment?

Gather any health records, write down all your medications, and think about questions you have. Note down the first day of your last period. Bring any previous pregnancy records. Feeling prepared will help you make the most of your visit.

What questions will a woman be asked during her prenatal visits?

Questions will vary but often include how you’re feeling, any symptoms you’re experiencing, and questions about your lifestyle. Be honest to help your provider support you best.

Should my husband come to my first prenatal visit?

If possible, yes! It’s a great way for your partner to be involved and understand the pregnancy journey. Plus, they can provide support and remember information.

What happens at your first OB appointment?

Your first OB appointment may include a physical exam, blood tests, and discussing your health history. It’s a time to ask questions and understand your pregnancy better.

Is 12 weeks too late for the first prenatal visit?

While earlier visits are ideal, a first visit at 12 weeks can still provide essential care. Inform your healthcare provider as soon as possible and schedule an appointment.

Will I see my baby on an ultrasound at my first prenatal visit?

Sometimes, but not always. Ultrasounds are often part of the initial appointment but can vary based on your healthcare provider’s practice and your pregnancy’s specifics.

How long should your first prenatal visit be?

First visits are usually longer than later ones, often lasting an hour. This gives you and your provider enough time to cover all necessary ground.

Does the first prenatal visit include an ultrasound?

It can, but this varies. Some providers perform an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and estimate the due date. Ask your provider what to expect.

Haven’t taken a birth class yet, mama? We created the perfect one for you—and we’ll guide you through everything you need to know.  Sign up for Motherly’s birth class here .

A version of this story was originally published on April 18, 2020. It has been updated.

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Early Signs of Pregnancy: Symptoms to Watch For

Do you think you might be pregnant? Learn about how early you can take a pregnancy test and the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy, including nausea, headaches and weight changes.

This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.

Early Pregnancy Signs

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There are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate you’re in the early stages of pregnancy .

Although early pregnancy symptoms can vary for everyone, there are some common ones that many people experience within the first six weeks of their pregnancy and can last throughout the first trimester. Symptoms can even change throughout the pregnancy.

If you think you're pregnant, it's important to see a health care provider and take precautions: start taking a prenatal vitamin, get enough rest and avoid drinking alcohol .

Common Early Pregnancy Signs

The most common early pregnancy signs and symptoms:

Tender breasts and changes in breast size

Morning sickness and nausea, fatigue and increased sleepiness, a missed period.

The degree to which you experience these signs can vary widely. Some women have many of these symptoms, while others barely notice them at all.

Due to fluctuating hormones, it's common for your breasts to feel tender and to change in size early in pregnancy as your body prepares to breastfeed . In fact, this could be the first clue that you're pregnant. However, for some women, breast soreness also commonly happens before or during menstruation.

Often referred to as morning sickness, nausea and vomiting tends to be worse early in the day but can strike at any time.

The wrong smell may trigger nausea or vomiting. Sometimes, the symptoms seem to happen for no particular reason.

Here are some ways to cope with morning sickness:

  • Try to eat a small snack, such as a few crackers, before you get out of bed.
  • If it feels better for you, eat five or six small meals a day instead of three larger meals.
  • Avoid odors that trigger your nausea or vomiting.
  • Build extra time into your schedule to cope with any nausea or vomiting.
  • Try natural treatments for nausea and vomiting. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends individual use of or a combination of vitamin B6 and doxylamine, an over-the-counter sleep aid, for nausea. Some doctors also recommend trying ginger .

If you're at your desk and easily doze off in a way you wouldn't normally, that could be a potential pregnancy sign. It's normal in early pregnancy to feel more wiped out because the body is changing to support the pregnancy.

Fatigue is especially common in the first and third trimesters. It's more common in the first trimester because of hormone fluctuations that then improve by the second semester, says Dr. Kelli V. Burroughs, an OB-GYN with Memorial Hermann Health System in Sugar Land, Texas. That fatigue often returns in the third trimester and is tied in with trouble sleeping and physical discomfort, Burroughs explains.

Do your best to get a good night's sleep and take naps if or when you can, advises Dr. Tochi Iroku-Malize, a family physician in Long Island, New York, and board chair at the American Academy of Family Physicians. The AAFP recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night for pregnant women.

Let your health care provider know if you’re resting a lot but are still tired.

"In some cases, I might order blood work to rule out anemia ," says Dr. Anita N. Lwanga, an assistant professor of general internal medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and a general internist at the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

There can be other causes of a missed period, such as stress or rapid weight changes . However, this is often a telltale sign associated with pregnancy. If you haven't started your period by a week after you normally would, this could be a sign that you're pregnant, unless your periods are irregular.

Less Obvious Pregnancy Signs

There are some pregnancy signs that are common but not as obvious as signs:

Changes in appetite and food cravings

Heightened sense of smell, mood swings and emotional changes.

Food cravings may provide a clue to being pregnant. It's not always clear why certain food cravings occur when you're pregnant, but experts say they may be linked to a heightened sense of smell and taste and changes to hormones.

Some women can develop cravings for non-food items, a condition called pica. This could mean cravings for baking soda, dirt or chalk, for example. Let your health care provider know if you're experiencing pica, as it could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency.

If you're pregnant, you may suddenly have a highly sensitive sense of smell due to changes in hormone levels that affect the olfactory system, Burroughs says. That sensitivity to some smells may trigger a negative response, such as nausea or reduced appetite. Other times early in pregnancy, you may find that certain smells are even more enjoyable.

If you're feeling happy one minute and weepy the next early on in your pregnancy, you're not alone. It can happen due to hormonal shifts, fatigue, pain or not feeling happy with changes to your appearance.

All of those changes – coupled with the mood swings – may leave you feeling more forgetful, stressed and unfocused, Iroku-Malize says. Make sure to reach out to loved ones and your health care provider for help coping with mood swings and emotional changes during pregnancy.

Physical and Bodily Changes

There are physical changes that occur during pregnancy, including:

Frequent urination

Changes in skin and hair, spotting and light bleeding, weight gain or weight loss, having an autoimmune condition that improves.

Pregnant women often experience frequent urination due the hormonal changes that occur early on in pregnancy, as well as the physical internal changes in the body.

Staying hydrated is important during pregnancy, but it can get annoying to have to get up and pee so often, particularly at night. Cut down on liquids a couple hours before bed for a better night’s sleep.

Are you all of the sudden sporting glowing skin and shiny hair? You can thank your pregnancy for that.

“Skin changes like that ‘pregnant glow’ are caused by the body’s increased blood circulation, which can cause skin to be shiny and rosy,” Iroku-Malize says.

Spotting can be a confusing pregnancy sign that may be mistaken for a period. Instead, the spotting may occur when the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus, says Dr. Jessica A. Shepherd, an OB/GYN affiliated with Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. It also may be caused by hormone changes, having sex and changes to the cervix while you're pregnant.

Still, you'll want to let your health care provider know about spotting or light bleeding as it could also be a sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (a fertilized egg that implants outside of the uterus that won't survive).

During the first trimester, you may put on 1 to 5 pounds , according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, some women gain no weight.

Surprisingly, weight loss can be a symptom of early pregnancy if you also have nausea and vomiting. That’s because those symptoms make it hard to hold down your food, leading to weight loss. Most women who lose weight in early pregnancy gain weight normally in the second trimester.

If you don’t have the typical pregnancy symptoms, it doesn’t mean your pregnancy is abnormal, Burroughs says. Also, if your symptoms improve unexpectedly, don’t be alarmed. It's normal for symptoms to ebb and flow.

You can often blame any new headaches on those crazy fluctuating hormones, particularly your estrogen level, when you're in your early pregnancy. Take heart in knowing that your headaches will likely level off by the second trimester as your hormone levels plateau, Burroughs says.

Let your health care provider know if you're having headaches that are persistent or that recur a lot. They also can be a sign of preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure that's unique to pregnancy.

Thanks to changes in your circulation, it's not uncommon to feel more dizziness when you're pregnant.

Here are some ways to cope with dizziness:

  • Stay well-hydrated
  • Try not to stand for long periods of time
  • Move slowly as you transition from a seated to standing position

Patients with autoimmune conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, may find their condition suddenly gets better, which could be a clue that they’re pregnant, Lwanga says. A 2022 report from Medscape found that 50% of pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis had low disease activity while pregnant. There are theories about why these conditions get better during pregnancy, but it’s not completely clear.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test

A pregnancy test measures the level of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, which increases when you're pregnant. Over-the-counter pregnancy tests are based on levels of the hCG hormone in your urine.

How to take a pregnancy test

For the most accurate results, the best time to take a pregnancy test is after you have missed your first period. If possible, take the test first thing in the morning, when your urine is more concentrated.

There are also pregnancy tests you can use up to six to eight days after ovulation.

The accuracy of pregnancy tests increases the further along you get in your pregnancy, so it’s possible to take a test early on and get a false negative result. That would mean that your body didn’t have enough of the hCG hormone to detect a pregnancy.

A blood test is another option a health care provider can order to confirm a pregnancy. This can be helpful if you've previously had:

  • An early miscarriage .
  • An ectopic pregnancy .
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.

Understanding pregnancy test results

Make sure to review the instructions with the home pregnancy test so you can better understand the results.

Once you know you’re pregnant, set an appointment with a health care provider. Typically, they will schedule an in-office visit to see patients at 10 to 11 weeks of pregnancy, but each practice has their own recommendations. Of course, reach out to a health care provider anytime you’re pregnant and have a question. Let your provider know if you have any vaginal bleeding. Seek emergency care if you have heavy or painful bleeding.

Bottom Line

“Becoming healthy and living a healthy lifestyle can really help lead to a healthy pregnancy, baby and family," says Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, senior medical director of Babyscripts, a virtual maternity care company in Washington, D.C.

In other words, if you can aim for healthier choices all or most of the time, that will lead to better odds if or when you do get pregnant.

While making it through the first trimester may feel like you’re running through an obstacle course, take heart in knowing that the second trimester is easier for many women and is often called the honeymoon period. In the second trimester, many pregnancy symptoms resolve.

Finding support and guidance

If you're unsure if you're pregnant or you're looking for guidance during pregnancy, the best source is a health care provider, such as a primary care doctor, family doctor or an OB-GYN. They can help confirm your pregnancy and provide guidance on having the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Some of the earliest pregnancy signs include breast tenderness, morning sickness and feeling more tired. Breast tenderness may start two weeks after conception. Morning sickness typically starts around the sixth week of pregnancy. Fatigue may start as early as one week after conception.

When used as the instructions advise, home pregnancy tests are 98% to 99% accurate. The best time to take one for reliable results is after you have missed your first period and early in the morning, like when you first wake up.

Yes, headaches and dizziness can be early signs of pregnancy. Headaches may occur due to changing hormone levels, such as estrogen changes. Dizziness may happen because of changes in your circulation. See a health care provider if you're having persistent, recurrent headaches. That's because they also could be caused by preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure that can happen during pregnancy.

Some women experience heartburn in the second or third trimester, while others find it starting in the first trimester. Avoiding acidic, greasy and spicy foods can help you manage pregnancy-related heartburn.

Constipation or diarrhea may occur in early pregnancy because of the hormonal impact on your digestive system. Of course, these also may occur from other causes, such as the foods that you eat.

Early pregnancy symptoms with multiple pregnancies are similar when pregnant with just one baby but may be more heightened due to significantly higher levels of hormones. This includes more dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Yes, nasal congestion in particular may occur in early pregnancy for some women because of swelling in the nose's mucous membranes. Sneezing is also more common for some women while they're pregnant. These symptoms happen frequently enough that health care providers call these symptoms pregnancy rhinitis.

Blurry vision is the most common pregnancy-related vision change that can happen anytime during pregnancy. It occurs due to fluid retention in the eye or a decrease in tear production that can make the eyes feel drier. Discuss any vision changes with a health care provider.

The various changes that happen in the body during pregnancy, such as fatigue, breast soreness, morning sickness and more all show that the body is working as it should during pregnancy. Signs of potential complications include severe pain and heavy or persistent bleeding. See a health care provider right away for these symptoms.

Finding the Best Pediatrician

Elaine K. Howley July 17, 2023

what questions to ask first pregnancy doctor visit

The U.S. News Health team delivers accurate information about health, nutrition and fitness, as well as in-depth medical condition guides. All of our stories rely on multiple, independent sources and experts in the field, such as medical doctors and licensed nutritionists. To learn more about how we keep our content accurate and trustworthy, read our  editorial guidelines .

Burroughs is an OB/GYN with Memorial Hermann Sugar Land in Sugar Land, Texas.

Demosthenes, of Greenville, South Carolina, is an OB/GYN and senior medical director for the maternal health-focused company Babyscripts.

Iroku-Malize is a practicing family physician in Long Island, New York, and board chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She is also the founding chair and a professor of family medicine for the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead, New York, and chair of family medicine for Northwell Health.

Lwanga is an assistant professor of general internal medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and a general internist at the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Shepherd is an OB-GYN, Chief Medical Officer at Verywell Health and alumnus of Adtalem Global Education’s Ross University School of Medicine.

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