Pre-pregnancy visit: overview

Your doctor will need to review all aspects of your medical history, especially:

  • medications, alcohol, and other substances consumed
  • allergies
  • medical conditions which are relevant to pregnancy, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, seizure disorders, kidney disease, arthritis, and others
  • infectious diseases you have been exposed to or immunized against, including urinary tract infections, herpes, tuberculosis, syphilis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, toxoplasmosis, CMV, HIV, chickenpox, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
  • your gynecological history, including menstrual and sexual history, birth control use, previous pregnancies and deliveries, and any gynecological abnormalities that might affect a pregnancy (e.g., fibroids)
  • familial diseases, including blood diseases such as hemophilia, sickle cell disease (most common in African Americans), and thalassemia; tay-sachs disease (a brain disease most common among people of Askhenazi Jewish, French-Canadian, or Louisiana Cajun descent); cystic fibrosis; birth defects; and Down syndrome

Your doctor will ask about stresses and relationships at home, since pregnancy is both a wonderful and a difficult time in a family's life.

Your doctor will also perform a full physical examination, including:

  • heart rate and blood pressure - the vital signs
  • height and weight
  • heart and vascular system
  • breasts, thyroid, lungs, abdomen, and nervous system
  • pelvis, especially size and shape of the uterus, size and shape of the pelvis, and a pap smear

You can also expect some other tests to be performed:

  • blood tests for your blood type, for anemia, for some infectious diseases (syphilis, rubella, chickenpox) and, depending on your history, other conditions
  • urine testing for protein and glucose
  • ultrasound testing or other imaging techniques

It's important to remember that most women do not become pregnant as soon as the couple begins trying. In fact, it takes an average of six months for couples to conceive a child, although the good news is that 80% of couples do conceive after one year of trying.

Thus, try to enjoy the process of becoming pregnant, and try not to become upset if you do not conceive right away. Remember: you are creating a new life that you will love and nurture for the rest of your life.

The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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