Early prenatal care is extremely important to ensure a complication-free pregnancy and a healthy baby, so if you’ve gotten a positive pregnancy test, now is the time to make your very first prenatal appointment with a doctor or midwife. If you’ve had certain health problems in the past, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, which are called perinatologists. If you are considered low-risk, meaning you’ve had no past problems during pregnancies or births and have no current health concerns, you can choose a certified nurse-midwife if you prefer. Most doctors and midwives like to see you for your first visit somewhere between 6-8 weeks along.
At this early stage in your pregnancy, it’s way too early for you to start ‘showing’, but you may begin to feel slightly bloated. Although the size of your abdomen hasn’t changed at all yet and it’s too soon for your clothes to become tight, you may already start to feel nauseous. Right away after missing a period, many women feel sick to their stomach and may even throw up. Morning sickness can strike day or night, but it is usually much worse first thing in the morning. Morning sickness may be a sign of a healthy pregnancy, but if you are one the lucky women who can sail through pregnancy without it, count your blessings. Some women don’t experience any nausea or vomiting and therefore, if you are one of those women, don’t worry. If you have morning sickness, but it goes away suddenly, you should contact your doctor to make sure everything is continuing to go smoothly.
During your first prenatal appointment, your doctor or midwife may do a full pelvic examination. During your pelvic exam, they will do a routine bimanual exam, which consists of your health care professional inserting two gloved fingers into your vagina and using the other hand to feel your lower abdomen. By doing this, they can feel the internal pelvic organs, particularly your uterus, to evaluate their size, shape and position. Beginning between 4-6 weeks along, if you have a bimanual exam done by your doctor or midwife, they will already be able to feel the lower part of your uterus (between the uterus and the vaginal part of the cervix) softening. This part of your uterus is called the cervical isthmus and starts becoming softer soon after conception. This softening is called “Hegar’s Sign“.