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What to expect before, during and after your first prenatal appointment

Ultrasounds, pregnancy plans, blood tests. Certified Nurse Midwife Ann Forster Page answers some common questions about our prenatal care.
Learn what to expect during your 8-week and 10-week prenatal visits.
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Pregnancy is a very exciting time, but it can also carry with it plenty of anxiety. 

At the University of Minnesota Health Women’s Health Specialists Clinic, we seek to arm all our patients with as much information as possible, and pregnancy is no exception. We sat down with Certified Nurse Midwife Ann Forster Page, DNP, APRN, CNM, FACNM and asked her to answer some common questions about the first prenatal appointment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PRENATAL SERVICES and WOMEN’S HEALTH SERVICES.

When should I have my first prenatal appointment? 

We typically schedule the first prenatal appointment eight weeks after the first day of a woman’s last period. This eight-week appointment is also called an intake appointment. It includes an ultrasound, lab work and a meeting with a certified nurse midwife. Please allow about 90 minutes for this appointment. You are welcome to bring a support person with you to this visit and any future visit.

What happens during this appointment? 

A trans-vaginal or abdominal ultrasound will let us know how far along you are, and confirm your expected delivery date. After the ultrasound, you will meet with the midwife. The two of you will review your answers to a detailed questionnaire provided to you before your appointment, either through our MyChart services or upon your arrival at the clinic. The questionnaire includes your family history, medical history, past pregnancies and surgeries.

This information helps you and the midwife map out a plan for the pregnancy. The midwife will recommend blood tests and you will have blood drawn during this visit. She will also review information for optional genetic screening tests. She can also answer other questions you may have about morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, nutrition, warning signs, what to expect from our clinic during your prenatal care and other topics. 

Learn more about The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

What about the 10-week visit? What should I expect?

Two weeks after the initial visit, we ask our patients to return for your first obstetrics appointment. During this visit, you can choose to see a midwife or doctor for your ongoing appointments. Individual follow-up care may vary based on your unique situation; we will establish a unique healthcare plan for you during this visit. The 10-week obstetrics appointment includes a full physical exam and a pap smear if needed. Your care provider will go over your lab results and listen to the baby using a Doptone fetal monitor. This appointment normally takes about 30 minutes.

See what The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital has to offer. Register for a Birthplace tour today.

How often will I come in for appointments after the eight- and 10-week visits? 

We normally see you every four to six weeks until your pregnancy reaches 28 weeks, at which point we recommend you come in every two to three weeks. From 36 weeks until the birth, we recommend weekly appointments.

We also offer a group prenatal care option for women who would like more education, a chance to meet other women at a similar time in their pregnancies or more time with one of our midwives. These group visits typically take place in the early evening and are scheduled around the 20, 24, 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy.

I had my last baby through University of Minnesota Health or Fairview Health Services, so you should have my history. Do I still need to have an intake appointment?

Yes. We treat every new pregnancy uniquely, so please schedule this important visit. This visit allows us to review any changes in your health since your last pregnancy and set a plan for this one.

What if I have questions before my first appointment, or any time during my pregnancy?

Please call our clinic at 612-273-7111 and talk to one of our triage nurses. If you have a concern after hours, our on-call doctor or midwife will be paged with any concerns.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Jan. 20, 2016, and has been updated to ensure continued accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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