When Is The Best Time To Start Prenatal Care?
Learning that you’re expecting can be one of the most exciting things to happen in your life. Most women begin thinking about baby names, nursery ideas, and who their little one will look like almost as soon as they get a positive pregnancy test! In the midst of all of the excitement, though, it is critical that women also begin to make arrangements for prenatal care to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both mother and baby. The caring team of board-certified, advanced nurse practitioners at Denton South Center of Health Services of North Texas (HSNT) offers comprehensive prenatal care and routine prenatal checks for women who are expecting. Find out more about the importance of prenatal care here, and learn when you should schedule your first appointment.
What does prenatal care involve?
Prenatal care is one of the most essential things a woman can do for the health of herself and her baby during pregnancy. From routine milestone checks to specialized monitoring, prenatal care can assure patients that their pregnancy is on track and reveal any potential complications as soon as they arise. Some of the most important aspects of prenatal care that we provide at Health Services of North Texas in Denton, TX include:
- Pregnancy confirmation
- Pelvic exam
- Laboratories (blood work)
- Fetal growth monitoring
- Mother’s health monitoring
- Advice on medications that are safe during pregnancy
- Counseling and emotional support
We are also proud to offer the services of a social worker, specialist referrals, and both English and Spanish-speaking team members to assist our prenatal patients.
When should I schedule my first prenatal appointment?
In most cases, the first prenatal visit occurs around week 6 – 8 of pregnancy, though this can vary depending on when a woman actually realizes she is pregnant.
If you have gotten a positive pregnancy test at home or suspect that you might be pregnant, our providers can confirm your pregnancy in the office with a urine test, blood test, or both. If you are confirmed to be pregnant, your prenatal care will likely begin with a pelvic exam, blood work, ultrasound, and other studies.
For women who do not find out about their pregnancy until they have missed a period, or later, it is important to seek prenatal care as soon as you do discover that you are expecting. During your first visit, an ultrasound will likely be performed to help determine how far along you are, and a prenatal care plan will be made from there.
What to expect at your first prenatal appointment
Depending on when your first prenatal appointment occurs, you will likely have a consultation, discuss your medical history with your provider, and undergo several tests, including an ultrasound. Some helpful things you can do to prepare yourself for your first prenatal appointment include:
- Know the date you started your last period
- Gather important details about your health history and family history
- Find out your partner’s health history and family history
- Make a list of your current medications
- Write down a list of questions for your provider
How often do you go to the doctor when you’re pregnant?
The frequency of your prenatal visits may depend on your health history, how your pregnancy is progressing, and whether or not you have any conditions that are considered high risk during pregnancy, such as advanced age or high blood pressure. In general, the visits will be fairly spaced out during the first two trimesters and will begin to occur more often during the third trimester. As you approach your due date, you will likely have regular checks every 1 – 2 weeks for about a month before delivery.
Ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby with prenatal care in Denton, TX and surrounding communities
When it comes to the health of you and your baby, nothing should be left to chance. Without a doubt, prenatal care is the best way to monitor your health and your baby’s development throughout the next nine months. If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, call our warm and welcoming team of board-certified nurse practitioners to schedule your first prenatal appointment at Denton South Center of Health Services of North Texas, conveniently located within Medical City Denton. We look forward to providing you and your growing family with the care you deserve!