When should you schedule your first OB appointment?
I have seen and heard numerous advertisements for other local groups promoting their “now, not 8 weeks from now” approach to early pregnancy.
We agree with being seen early, and have been doing it that way for several years already!
Over 9 years ago, when I first started at Kamm McKenzie OBGYN, we would see patients between 8-12 weeks from their last menstrual periods for a new pregnancy interview and physical appointment.
This is a long appointment with a nurse education component, a provider visit, an exam and sonogram, and bloodwork.
We received feedback from those who experienced miscarriage. It was particular sad and frustrating to have to have found out pretty late about an early miscarriage. Especially after sitting through a 1-2 hour appointment getting education before finding out they did not necessarily need that education.
If you’re new to our blog, it might be helpful to know that 15-20% of early pregnancy ends with the diagnosis of miscarriage. That translates to a large number of frustrated patients.
The providers all felt it would be nice to confirm pregnancy before that big appointment. From that point on, we have had our “OB confirmation” sonogram appointments that we do as close to 7 weeks from your last menstrual periods as we can.
What is an OB confirmation appointment?
The OB confirmation sonogram appointments allow us to see if your pregnancy is going well early on, and if your pregnancy dating is correct (to establish an accurate estimated due date).
They also help us diagnose pregnancies that are miscarriages, or seem to be headed in that direction, and we then schedule follow-up sonograms as necessary to help us determine the prognosis of the pregnancy.
Do we catch every miscarriage, or suspected miscarriage, at this appointment? No we do not.
As you can imagine some pregnancies end at 8, 9, or 10+ weeks, without any signal that anything is wrong.
At that confirmation appointment your provider will address any pressing issues from a pregnancy perspective as well… ie any medication you should change or start etc.
As mentioned above, if there are concerns about the findings/measurements on the sonogram, we will schedule a repeat confirmation sonogram.
If everything is looking great, we will set up the “big” appointment mentioned above in the first paragraph at around 10-12 weeks, depending on when it works for you.
This is the ideal time for this appointment for a couple of reasons:
1) If the sonogram is reassuring at 10-12 weeks, the miscarriage rate is about 1%.
2) The timing of this appointment allows for some optional genetic testing to be done in conjunction with your prenatal blood work.
Does EVERYONE need a confirmation appointment?
No, not everyone needs an OB confirmation appointment.
If you have been getting early sonograms at another OBGYN practice or a fertility office and want to skip our confirmation, that is fine.
Also, if you are transferring to our care later in your pregnancy and have been receiving prenatal care already then a confirmation sonogram would be unnecessary.
Is there a reason I might need to be seen earlier?
Yes! If you have had a history of recurrent miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, or have any other very high risk medical conditions for which you would feel more comfortable coming in for a visit sooner, just call us and we will help.
If you are too early, we may not be able to do a sonogram yet, but we have ways to evaluate you and the pregnancy without that.
I hope this helps explain why we do what we do!
If you would like additional information, or want to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.