YOUR FIRST

Your Pregnancy - - Talking Point -

AN­TE­NA­TAL AP­POINT­MENT

Many women use a home preg­nancy test to con­firm what they sus­pect. The next step is to see a med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner for of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion, and to check that all is well.

“It’s rec­om­mended that the mother be seen as early as six to seven weeks to con­firm an in­trauter­ine preg­nancy, and as­sess gen­eral health and risk fac­tors that might in­flu­ence the preg­nancy,” says Dr Kalian. “The next cru­cial visit to the gy­nae­col­o­gist should be at 11 to 14 weeks for first trimester Down syn­drome screen­ing, as­sess­ment for risk of preterm labour, and high blood pres­sure that is spe­cific to preg­nancy (this is called preeclamp­sia).”

WHAT TO EX­PECT

Any gy­nae­co­log­i­cal prob­lems (in­clud­ing sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions).

De­tails about any pre­vi­ous preg­nan­cies and births.

Whether you, the baby’s fa­ther, or any­one in ei­ther fam­ily has a chro­mo­so­mal or ge­netic dis­or­der, had de­vel­op­men­tal de­lays, or was born with a struc­tural birth de­fect. You’ll be of­fered var­i­ous screen­ing tests, in­clud­ing a blood test that’s done at 9 to 13 weeks and, if it’s avail­able, an ul­tra­sound at 11 to 13 weeks.

YOUR MED­I­CAL PRAC­TI­TIONER WILL DO

A phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion. A pelvic exam if nec­es­sary, in­clud­ing a Pap smear (un­less you’ve had one re­cently).

Pos­si­bly a cul­ture to check for chlamy­dia and gon­or­rhea. A urine sam­ple. Blood tests to iden­tify your blood type, rh­e­sus fac­tor and check for ane­mia (low iron count), as well as test for HIV, syphilis, hep­ati­tis B and im­mu­nity to rubella (Ger­man measles) and chicken pox.

WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR MED­I­CAL PRAC­TI­TIONER

Now is the time to raise any con­cerns you may have, no mat­ter how triv­ial they may seem. Ask your doc­tor about:

Any med­i­ca­tions and/or sup­ple­ments you’ve taken since your last pe­riod, and your use of al­co­hol or drugs.

Any ex­po­sure you may have had to po­ten­tial tox­ins (bring a list of these, es­pe­cially if you live near or work around toxic ma­te­ri­als).

Where and when you’ll be giv­ing birth.

Your op­tions for giv­ing birth (a “birth plan”).

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