What to expect from your first visit to your obstetrician

The first visit to your obstetrician | A/Prof Indika Alakhoon

First of all, what is an obstetrician?

An obstetrician is a doctor who specialises in pregnancy, childbirth and women’s reproductive system. Obstetricians take care of you throughout your pregnancy and provide follow-up care once your baby has been born.

During your pregnancy, your regular visits to your obstetrician will include:

  • Conducting regular tests that monitor the health of your child
  • Regularly check your health for conditions that may cause problems during pregnancy such as diabetes, high blood pressure and genetic disorders
  • Provide advice and support when it comes to foods to avoid, medications and staying healthy
  • Help you cope with common symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning and sickness, pain and other common complaints

When should I first visit an obstetrician?

As soon as you get a positive pregnancy test, call to schedule an appointment with your obstetrician. Generally, most practitioners will schedule a visit around the two-month mark during pregnancy, or sooner if you are experiencing symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.

Your first appointment, normally between 8 and 12 weeks, will include a complete medical history and a thorough physical exam. This includes a pelvic exam, breast exam, urine test to check for preeclampsia (also called pregnancy high blood pressure), a pap smear and blood work. This is to check your overall health and identify any factors that put you at risk for pregnancy, birth or foetal complications. Depending on this, your obstetrician will discuss possible genetic testing and any specific warning signs and symptoms to watch for.

Based on your health and risk factors, A/Prof Indika will together with you work out a schedule for subsequent appointments.

How to prepare for your first visit

Your first visit is also a time to ask lots of questions and any discuss lifestyle changes or restrictions you may need to observe during pregnancy.

  • Note down key facts regarding your health. Your obstetrician will want to know your health history, so write down the details of any past pregnancies, any medical conditions you have, and any contagious diseases you may have been exposed to (if you have been overseas or work in healthcare).
  • Find out about any hereditary and genetic health conditions that run in your and your partner’s families. Bring any of these concerns up with your doctor.
  • Write down any questions you may have. In the excitement of that first prenatal appointment, it’s easy to forget to ask some of the burning questions you have in the back of your mind.

It is important that you ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you have all your concerns addressed and so that you and A/Prof Indika are on the same page.

Your first visit to your obstetrician

A/Prof Indika’s highest priority is the safety of your baby and to ensure your pregnancy journey is as comfortable as possible. She specialises in high-risk pregnancies and is committed to you and health.

If you have just found out that you are expecting, contact A/Prof Indika’s office to schedule your first appointment with her.

If you have a medical condition, have had problems with a pregnancy in the past, or are having symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, or severe nausea and vomiting, you should contact A/Prof Indika as soon as possible.