You’ve just discovered you’re pregnant. Congrats!
Over the next nine months, you’ll learn a heck of a lot about your body and its superhuman ability to grow a baby, what it means to look after a newborn, and attend a bunch of appointments along the way.
One of the first appointments you’ll attend is the all-important antenatal appointment.
It’s an opportunity to ask as many questions as you like about what’s to come, share your health history and records with the team that’ll be looking after you throughout your pregnancy, and find out more about your body’s needs during the time.
For many new mums, the first antenatal appointment can feel a little overwhelming.
This is because there’s a lot to get through, a lot of questions to answer, and a little bit of prodding and poking too.
It pays to be prepared for this appointment ahead of time, so you can ensure you get the most out of it and leave feeling like you have the tools you need to move through the first trimester with confidence.
Here’s everything you need to know about your first antenatal appointment.
When to schedule your first antenatal appointment
You should book your first antenatal appointment to take place at around 6-8 weeks as soon as you receive a positive result on a pregnancy test (okay, you can take a moment to celebrate first… but then make the call!).
With a midwife, your GP, or at a clinic or hospital, you’ll undergo a comprehensive check-up on your overall health; with questions around your family medical history to your mental health. Make sure to set aside at least an hour.
What to prepare
Before your appointment, take some time to gather your most up-to-date medical records or make notes on the below health facts.
- Personal and family medical history: Immunisations you’ve had (accessible on the Medicare app), previous major surgeries or illnesses, any known allergies (specifically those relating to drugs), and health conditions, genetic disorders, or chronic illnesses that run in your and your partner’s family.
- Gynecological history: When you had your first period, details of your cycle, whether you suffer from PMS or PMDD, diagnosis of PCOS or endometriosis, prior gynecological surgeries, history of abnormal pap smears or STIs.
- Obstetrical history: Previous pregnancies, including complications or losses experienced and details about past deliveries.
- Your mental health history: Your experience with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health disorders.
- Potential disease exposure: Whether you’ve previously experienced illness, disease, or exposure to viruses like COVID-19, for example.
- Medications: Whether you’re currently—or were previously—taking regular medication.
- Date of your last period: To help your doctor determine your due date.
We know this can all be overwhelming, so we created a handy pregnancy checklist for you to keep track.
What to expect from the consultation
Confirmation of your pregnancy
You may be asked to repeat a urine test and/or do a blood test to check your HCG level (a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy). You’ll also learn how far along you are in your pregnancy and find out your due date.
A general check-up for your overall health and a bunch of tests that could include:
- Heart, lungs and abdomen exam
- Blood pressure check
- Current height and weight
- Questions around medical and family history
- Understanding current and past medications
- Urine test: to check for a bladder infection or urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Cervical screening: to check for human papillomavirus (HPV) or any abnormal cells
- Blood test: to check blood group, blood type, Rh status, whether you have anaemia, rubella immunity, hepatitis B or C, STIs or HIV.
- Blood sugar test: if you’ve had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy or if you’re at higher risk due to factors like family history.
- If you're at risk of Vitamin D deficiency, you'll be offered a test for this too.
Counselling and other questions
Your doctor or midwife will also discuss the process of screening for Down Syndrome, whether you would like any additional vaccines (like COVID-19 or the flu), and outline any lifestyle changes to keep you healthy and happy. This may include diet, exercise, smoking and drinking, and vitamins.
Phew, that was a lot. You will likely have a lot of questions along the way, so we recommend keeping a notebook close by to jot thoughts down as they come to you.
Don’t feel shy about entering every doctor’s appointment with a stack of questions—they’ve seen it all before and, ultimately, this is all about you.
Now we at Kin know how confusing pregnancy can get and no two pregnancies are the same. Whether this is your first time or not, it helps to feel prepared to take on each day. That's why we have created a free personalised pregnancy checklist. Fertility specialist and OBGYN approved, it's tailored just for you and broken down into trimesters and bite-sized checklist items to simplify your pregnancy journey.