The prospect of your first antenatal visit may make you feel excited and anxious in equal measure. Here's what to expect so that you can enjoy the experience.

Go prepared

Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you know you're pregnant. Antenatal care is important to keep you and your baby healthy throughout the pregnancy. You'll likely see your doctor for the first time in week 5. Most people will have about 10 appointments before baby is due.

Ideally you should visit your doctor with your partner and go armed with both your medical histories. Your doctor will be interested to know about any family medical history that may have an impact on your pregnancy. These include genetic conditions or diseases like diabetes. If you've had previous pregnancies, miscarriages or problems with fertility, your doctor will need to know about these too.

Keep track of your periods

Most people are keen to know their due date as soon as they're pregnant — particularly if the new arrival is likely to be born on an auspicious date, or share a relative's birthday. If you've been planning to get pregnant, you'll probably be used to keeping track of your dates. You can calculate your estimated due date (EDD) from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) if you have a regular 28-day cycle.

Look at your lifestyle

Your conversation with your doctor is confidential. It's important that you inform them of any issues that may affect your pregnancy. These include smoking, alcohol, drug use or any medication you may be on.

Take notes

There is a lot to take in at the first visit so it's useful to take notes as everything is likely to be new to you. Your doctor will offer you routine screening tests.

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr TAN Shu Qi Senior O&G Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore

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