Congratulations – It’s the first trimester of your pregnancy! It is an exciting time in your life and you might have experienced many of the early symptoms of pregnancy already. While many women only recognise that they are pregnant a month or two after conception, their overwhelming joy is not hindered by this delay. You might have taken a self pregnancy test at first to check whether you are pregnant or not. The obvious next step hereafter recognising first trimester symptoms is to get an appointment with your doctor or gynaecologist to further confirm and discuss your pregnancy.
And before you go ahead with this, let us be the ones to tell that you’re about to go through the most detailed physical examinations a healthy person will ever experience. On your first visit, your doctor will take your medical history and perform different types of pregnancy tests and screenings.
Here is what you can look forward to at the doctor’s for first-trimester care:
Your due date
Many of you think of the due date when your baby will be expected. Your baby bump is not even showing, yet you are already excited for his/ her arrival into your world. If you have not yet used an online due date calculator, you will definitely know more about it at your doctor’s appointment. At this visit in the first trimester of pregnancy, your doctor inquires about the date of your last period to calculate when your baby is due. Knowing the due date will help you a lot in keeping track of how your pregnancy is progressing, and to plan your schedule around that time.
There are a lot of things that factor into a happy and healthy pregnancy, your previous and present medical condition being the primary one. In your first or subsequent visits to the doctor in the first trimester, you will discuss any illnesses or medical conditions that you have, and if you know about any inherited disorders that might be passed on to your baby. Some underlying diseases, hormonal problems or many other conditions can also cause miscarriage early on in the pregnancy. It is always better to let the doctor know about any pre-existing conditions that you might be suffering from, so that you are either able to prevent complications or are prepared for them as best you can be.
Exciting baby development
With each visit to your doctor, you will see the baby development in the first trimester. By the time you reach week 12 of the first three months of pregnancy, your baby’s heartbeat can be audible with the help of a doppler machine. The machine uses ultrasound waves to detect your baby’s heart. The heartbeat cannot be heard with a normal stethoscope before approximately 20 weeks. You will hear a little heart pumping 120-160 beats per minute – and you’ll now know for sure your baby is real.
Types of Pregnancy tests to expects
There are a lot of things that you expect to happen in medical examinations and sometimes it makes you nervous. Pregnancy examinations are similar, but you do not need to worry. Here is a list of different types of pregnancy tests and things that you can commonly expect from this check-up.
The doctor or nurse may examine and record your height, weight, blood pressure and pulse; give you a general physical examination while paying special attention to your heart, lungs, abdomen and pelvis. These tests are done to make sure that you are fit to carry your pregnancy to term and be healthy throughout. Your body needs to be ready to support and nurture another life, and this is an essential part of first trimester care.
Your blood will be checked for anaemia, sexually transmitted infections and immunity to rubella (German measles). It may also be tested to confirm your blood group in case you need a transfusion. Sometimes pregnant women may also be screened for sickle-cell anaemia and thalassemia (a rare blood disorder).
Sugar and protein levels in your urine are also checked sometimes. The sugar or glucose levels are checked for signs of diabetes or to see if you are likely to develop gestational diabetes. Similarly, proteins levels are also measured to see if you have developed preeclampsia- a disease that happens during pregnancy along with high blood pressure.
Cervical swab test
For previous Herpes patients, your doctor will check if the herpes virus is active. This virus may be passed onto the baby at the time of delivery, however, this is rare. Consulting your doctor about your history of the disease will help with planning precautionary measures to prevent it from passing down to your baby.
Pap Smear or Pap Test
In a detailed and extended check-up, your doctor will take some cells to check for any early signs of cervical cancer that you might have. This test checks if you have any precancerous or cancerous cells in the entrance of your uterus, the cervix.
Other than the standardised tests that take place in a pregnancy check-up, many pregnant women have specific concerns about their health and may get tested for other things as well. Pre-existing medical conditions are always a point of concern, one that you should tell your doctor at the earliest in these first three months of pregnancy. All the above-mentioned tests and screenings are meant to help you in keeping healthy and aware of any problems you might have. Having accurate information about your body makes you feel comfortable and confident about your pregnancy. There will be many pregnancy changes and you can look forward to what happens in the first trimester. So, take it easy and enjoy everything that this trimester brings.