On your first prenatal check-up, the doctor will confirm whether you are pregnant and give you the due date. You might also see tiny Your Child moving on an ultrasound. If you are older than 35 years old, the doctor might recommend some tests.
What to expect:
- You’ll get an estimated due date.
- You’ll get a thorough physical examination, including pelvic exams, breast exams, blood pressure check, weight check, urine test, and blood test.
- You’ll be asked a lot of questions about your personal and family medical history.
- You might have an ultrasound.
What to ask:
- What prescription medicines are safe to take?
- How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
- What screening schedule do you recommend?
- What’s the best way to deal with morning sickness?
- What symptoms and signs should make me go to the hospital?
- When’s the best time to call with questions?
- Is it still okay to have sex?
- What about stretch marks on my body?
- Bring your partner, family member, or close friend if possible.
- Jot down the date of your last menstrual period (LMP). It will help your OB figure out your due date.
- Be ready to answer questions about previous pregnancies, birth control, allergies, meds, surgeries, and any chronic health conditions.
- Ask your mom about any genetic conditions that run in your family.
- If possible, ask your partner’s family about any history of babies with health or genetic issues.
Women aged over 35, and those with a personal history of chromosomal abnormalities are suggested to do the following test:
Nuchal translucency test
The doctor will use a special ultrasound to measure the thickness of the back of the baby’s neck. If it is thicker than 3 mm, it means the baby might have a genetic disorder. This test can be carried out after the 10th week of pregnancy.
This test detects anomalies in the fluid that surrounds your fetus in the uterus. Amniotic fluid has cells and other substances that help identify Down Syndrome, Sickle Cell Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Tay-Sachs, and similar diseases. The test can be done after 16-18 weeks and is 99% accurate. However, it has a small chance (0.5-1%) to cause miscarriage.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
A small sample of cells (called chorionic villi) is taken from the placenta, which is attached to the uterus wall. Chorionic villi have the same genes as the baby. CVS can help identify Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell anemia. This test can be done after 10-13 weeks and is 98% accurate, but it has a chance (2%) to cause miscarriage.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (4 July 2020)