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Your first antenatal visit

4-minute read

Your first antenatal care appointment is an important one. During your visit, your GP or midwife will confirm your pregnancy, assess your health and give you some information that you will need in the months ahead. You will also be able to discuss who you choose to provide your ongoing pregnancy care

When should I make the first appointment?

It’s best to make the appointment when you think you may be pregnant or at around 6-8 weeks into your pregnancy. Your first appointment may be with a midwife, your GP or at a clinic or hospital — you can choose.

Finding out about you

During the visit, your doctor or midwife will take a detailed medical history and family history as part of assessing your overall health. This includes finding out about any prior pregnancies, illnesses or operations and what medicines you’re taking, including those from a pharmacy or supermarket. They will also want to know if you have any current health problems and if you are allergic to any medicines.

Your doctor or midwife will ask you if you smoke, drink alcohol or take recreational drugs. They will also ask if you are stressed, have any signs of depression or anxiety and about the support you could receive from people at home and at work. If you are experiencing any family violence you should let them know, since it’s important to get professional help and they can support you to do this.

Finding out about the health of your family is also important because it could affect you or your baby. This includes any family history of twins, genetic disorders, or chronic illnesses such as diabetes. You may wish to do screening tests for being a carrier of other genetic conditions. Discuss this with your doctor or midwife.

Your doctor or midwife will check your blood pressure, weight and height. You will also be offered a blood test to check your blood group and whether you have anaemia, any infectious diseases or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as checking whether you have rubella immunity.

They may suggest a urine test to see if you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Find out more here about the check-ups, tests and scans you will have during your antenatal visits.

Finding out about your baby

Your doctor or midwife will calculate how many weeks you have been pregnant and the due date of your baby. If you’re not sure when your last period was, they may schedule a dating scan. This is an ultrasound that will help determine which week of pregnancy you are in.

They will also offer a test to see if your baby is at high risk of having Down syndrome or other abnormalities. Other tests may be suggested such as an amniocentesis, or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) if you are over 35 years old or have a higher than normal risk of problems.

Discussing your antenatal care options

During this first appointment, your GP or midwife will give you information and discuss which model of care you would like to have for your antenatal appointments and the birth. You'll be able to discuss:

  • who will be your main antenatal carer
  • where you would like to receive your antenatal care
  • how many antenatal visits you will have and when
  • where you would like to give birth
  • where to find local antenatal classes or education sessions

Information that will help you

Your midwife or GP will give you information during this appointment to help you keep healthy and ensure you have good support and care.

This includes:

  • help to stop smoking or drinking alcohol (if needed)
  • advice about healthy eating, exercise and weight gain expectations
  • letting you know which vitamins and minerals you should take or avoid during pregnancy
  • referrals to support services or professional help if you need them
  • answering questions about issues that worry or concern you
  • letting you know if you have a higher risk pregnancy and what can help reduce or remove this risk

Occasionally, a pregnancy starts off normally but develops a problem later so the relevant information may not be available during this first visit. It's always a good idea to remain flexible.

Further information and support

You can call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse about any concerns you have about your pregnancy or antenatal care.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2020

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