Prenatal care

Prenatal care

During your pregnancy you'll probably see your health care provider more often than you have seen a health care professional before. Regular prenatal visits help you have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.

The first prenatal appointment is usually when you are 12 weeks pregnant. Your prenatal visits will be scheduled to your needs. The timing and focus of prenatal visits will be designed to meet your specific care needs and provide education at each visit.

How to get the most out of your prenatal visits

  • Bring a list of your questions. If you feel shy about asking questions, give your health care provider the list.
  • Write down your health care provider's answers and recommendations. It's easy to forget details.
  • Ask your partner, family member or friend to come with you. That way they can ask questions as well as write down answers.
  • Be honest, even with things that are hard to talk about (such as drug, alcohol and tobacco use). For the sake of your baby's health, talk with your health care provider about these issues.
  • It's important that you feel you can talk honestly with your health care provider. If you find this difficult, ask to meet other health care providers in the clinic. You may feel more comfortable with someone else.
  • Don't suffer in silence. If you are in pain or if you are worried about something, tell your health care provider. This is the kind of information they need to know at each visit — or in a phone call between visits.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, eighth edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/06/2021