New Dad Jitters: A Survival Guide For The First Prenatal Appointment

Once the initial excitement about your new soon-to-be father status wears off, you are bound to feel some anxiety. After all, you are about to enter a new world full of doctor appointments, diapers and tons of adorable newborn snuggles. As a father, your responsibility begins now as you prepare for your first prenatal visit with a gynecologist like Rawtani Meera MD. Yet, it is normal to feel a little nervous about walking into a room where normally only women tread. Here is what to expect during your first appointment along with a few tips to help show support to your partner as you learn more about the pregnancy.

Discuss Your Involvement

Before you arrive at your appointment, it is important to make sure your partner agrees with your level of involvement. While some women welcome their partner staying throughout the entire exam, others may prefer for you to only come in for the highlights. Ask your partner how comfortable they are with you staying so that you know how to proceed once you arrive at the gynecologist.

Gather Your Supplies

Prepping for a prenatal appointment often requires bringing along essential information such as health insurance cards and personal identification. Make sure that these essential items are not forgotten in the rush out the door by packing them the day ahead of the appointment. Additionally, grab a notebook and pen so that you can jot down questions as they arise. This way, you will have a reference to use when the doctor asks if you have any concerns at the end of the appointment.

Research Your Family History

Although a great deal of focus tends to be placed upon how a woman's health affects the pregnancy, your family history can also play a role in the health of your baby. For this reason, you will need to find out beforehand if any genetic disorders run in your family such as hemophilia or Down's syndrome. Your partner's gynecologist can then use this information to determine which types of tests may be required.

Prepare for the Ultrasound

At many first prenatal appointments, an ultrasound is performed to check the viability of the fetus and date the pregnancy. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this may be done using a transabdominal ultrasound if the pregnancy is estimated to be 10 weeks along or later. If the pregnancy is earlier, then a transvaginal ultrasound may be used. According to the American Pregnancy Association, a fetal pole or heartbeat may be detected between 5 and 6 weeks of pregnancy. If one is not detected, then it is possible that the estimated dates of pregnancy are off, and a second ultrasound will be scheduled according to the doctor's recommendation. If this occurs, offer your partner reassurance, and ask the doctor about any necessary follow-up testing such as blood work.

As you embrace fatherhood, you will encounter many exciting moments, and one of the first is getting to go along to the initial prenatal appointment. By arriving fully armed with information and supplies, you can breeze through this momentous occasion while showing support to your favorite mother-to-be.