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Doctor Visits During 1st Trimester.
The first visit to the doctor may only require that a confirmation b-HCG blood test is performed to confirm the results of the home pregnancy test. (See the article on b-hCG Levels in Pregnancy for full details). However it is quite likely that the
What the doctor records:
During either the first or second visit, blood pressure, weight, height and pulse rate will all be recorded. This is all pretty straightforward and every man has probably had the same measurements taken on themselves, so no big shock.
What many men find a little awkward is the first time that the doctor asks their partner to step up into the seat and put her feet in the stirrups that are at either side. This leaves her in a position where the doctor can proceed to examine her vagina at close range and also to insert his/her 'plastic gloved' fingers inside of her.
No need to worry, this is all standard procedure; here's what's happening:
When the vagina is being examined closely, the doctor is looking for a bluish/purplish colouration of the vulva and vaginal walls as a result of extra blood flow into the region.
When the fingers are placed inside the vagina, your obstetrician is looking to feel for a softening of the cervix
Whilst the fingers are still inside, the other hand may be placed on her belly. At this point an enlarged uterus can be felt.
For an explanation of the terms used here, see Diagrams of Female Human Reproductive System
The following is a list of other details that will probably be asked for in these first visits:
The date of the first day of her last period.
Normal time between menstrual cycles.
History of previous pregnancies (including miscarriages or abortions).
Any current or historic illnesses.
Known inherited disorders.
Her blood grouping.
Some or all of the following tests will also usually be needed:
An analysis of morning urine to check for high sugar and protein levels.
A red blood cell count to check for anaemia.
Blood tests to check for HIV antibodies.
Blood tests for immunity to German Measles (Rubella).
Blood tests for hepatitis.
Blood test for sexually transmitted diseases (especially syphilis).
In some countries, it is standard to perform a blood test for toxoplasmosis immunity. See full article on Toxoplasmosis
There are other specialised tests available for high risk groups (e.g. sickle-cell anaemia) and people that have herpes. There is also a standard Rhesus antibody level check for women who are RH negative, (see article on Rh Disease for details).
Except for during the first scan, where you will be able to get the first look at your child and see/hear its heartbeat banging away at up to 150 beats per minute. (See the following page), for the rest of this trimester the checks are normally pretty straightforward: A few questions, a quick check that the cervix is remaining closed (in the stirrups again), vitamins are prescribed and the occasional re-test is ordered.
But sometimes, that's not all... during a standard meeting if a Doppler device is used against your partner's belly and the signal is amplified, when the room is filled with the sound of your child's heartbeat, the emotions can get pretty powerful. To hear what this sounds like, try this link.
1. Doctor visits during the 1st trimester
2. 1st trimester ultrasound appointments
3. Doctor visits during the 2nd trimester
4. 2nd trimester ultrasound scan - Part 1
5. 2nd trimester ultrasound scan - Part 2
6. 2nd trimester ultrasound scan - Part 3
7. Doctor visits during the 3rd trimester
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