OB/GYNs & Midwives

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When to See an OB/GYN or Midwife

After a positive pregnancy test, your first step will be to see an OB/GYN or midwife (what is a midwife?).

Most providers will want to see you at around 8 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period, but this can vary from practice to practice.

You may be seen sooner if you have a medical condition, a history of ectopic pregnancy, have had problems with a pregnancy in the past, or are experiencing vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.

(If you have diabetes or chronic hypertension, please speak to your doctor before you become pregnant.)

Call the office and ask when you should come in. They will ask for the first day of your last period and also the day your pregnancy test was positive at home.

The Length of Your Appointments

The first prenatal visit will last at least 45-60 minutes. During this visit, your OB/GYN or midwife will ask about your medical history, any gynecological problems, previous pregnancies, and chronic medical conditions.

Your appointment may last longer than an hour if you see a dietician or social worker during your visit. A sonogram may also increase the length of your first visit.

A physical exam and pap smear will be performed, and an ultrasound may be taken if there is a question about how far along you are or if you are experiencing bleeding or cramping. You will also have a blood test.

Your first appointment will map out the next nine months. Your provider will talk to you about medications, diet, exercise, and any precautions that you should take.

If your pregnancy progresses without complications, later visits can be about 10-15 minutes, depending on your provider.

How Often to Visit Your Provider

For routine obstetrical care, the frequency of prenatal visits depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Stage of Pregnancy Frequency of Visits
0-28 weeks Every 4 weeks
28-36 weeks Every 2 weeks
More than 36 weeks Weekly

If you have a pregnancy that is at risk for complications, you will visit the doctor more often and have regular blood tests, urine tests and ultrasounds. In most cases, your obstetrician can manage your pregnancy, consulting with maternal-fetal medicine specialists (doctors who have extra training in high-risk pregnancies) when needed. 

Tests may be performed in your doctor’s office, or you may be referred to a Perinatal Testing Center.

Bringing Your Partner to Your Appointments

You can bring the father of your baby, or a support person, to any of your appointments.

For your first appointment, it would be helpful to have the father present so that he can answer questions about his genetic background.

Attending your appointments will give him the opportunity to ask questions and to have a better understanding of what you’re going through.

During your “milestone” appointments, he’ll be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see your baby on the ultrasound monitor – many parents enjoy having that shared experience.

Bringing Your Children to Your Appointments

Catholic Health is family-friendly. Please feel free to bring your children to your appointments, as long as they do not have a communicable disease, such as chicken pox.