When should I have my first prenatal doctor's appointment?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

The optimum time for a visit actually starts before pregnancy as a preconceptual counseling visit to go over any healthy lifestyle changes that would be beneficial to modify even before becoming pregnant and to identify any medical problems or genetic issues that should be addressed. Starting prenatal vitamins with folic acid is actually recommended for 2-3 months prior to conception.

If you are already pregnant it is recommended that you get the earliest prenatal appointment possible. Early visits help with dating the pregnancy and identifying any potential medical factors that could impact on the pregnancy. As soon as you suspect you are pregnant or have a positive home pregnancy test call to schedule an appointment with your midwife or OB/gyn.

The first prenatal appointment needs to be scheduled as soon as the woman suspects she is pregnant.  This appointment will confirm the pregnancy as well as identify any risk factors and provide the woman with information and education about having a healthy pregnancy.

If you think you're pregnant, or if you've taken a home pregnancy test and gotten positive results, call your doctor to set up your first prenatal appointment. Many times, women won't suspect they're pregnant until they miss their period, which is actually considered week 4 of pregnancy! Your doctor will want to confirm your pregnancy with another test, and will then probably perform a variety of tests to assess your overall health and to determine any risk factors for the baby. Sometimes, if you don't have any risk factors for a complicated pregnancy, doctors may want to do these overall tests a few weeks later. Either way, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor as soon as you think you're pregnant so that you can start your pregnancy with the best prenatal care possible.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.