Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Prenatal services include tests and physical exams to make sure you and your pregnancy are healthy. It’s a good time to ask questions about your pregnancy and the birth of your future baby.

What happens during my first prenatal care appointment?

Your first prenatal care visit is usually the longest one. You’ll talk with your doctor about your medical history, including vaccinations and previous pregnancies, as well as any experiences you’ve had that may impact the health of your pregnancy — such as sexual trauma or traumatic engagement with the health care system. Your doctor will also ask you about the other parent’s medical history, and both of your families’ medical histories.

Your doctor will give you a complete check-up, usually with a physical exam and blood and urine tests to make sure you’re healthy. This can include:

Your doctor might also talk with you about your diet and lifestyle, and prenatal vitamins. The most important vitamin you can take is folic acid, which ideally you would start taking before you’re even pregnant. Your doctor can give you advice about any changes you can make to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Some types of medicine are dangerous to use during your pregnancy. Tell your doctor about every medicine, supplement, or drug you’re using, and always check with your doctor before starting any new ones.

What will happen during my follow-up prenatal care appointments?

During your follow-up prenatal care visits, your doctor, nurse, or midwife will examine you to make sure your pregnancy is developing well, and that you and the fetus are healthy.

During prenatal care visits, your doctor, nurse, or midwife may:

  • update your medical history

  • check your urine

  • check your weight and blood pressure

  • check for swelling

  • feel your belly to check the position of your fetus

  • measure the growth of your belly

  • listen to the fetal heartbeat

  • give you any genetic testing you decide to do

  • administer the Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) vaccines
  • recommend other vaccines, such as those for Covid-19, the flu, and hepatitis A if you’re at risk

These prenatal checkups are a great time to talk about any questions or concerns that have come up since your last visit.

What changes to my body can I expect during my pregnancy?

There’s no getting around it — your body will change a lot during your pregnancy. You’ll go through lots of hormonal changes, and you’ll get bigger as the fetus develops. Your uterus will grows up to 18 times its normal size, and your breasts and nipples will probably get larger, too.

It’s normal to gain up to 35 pounds during your pregnancy, and some people may gain more. Your sex drive can increase or decrease throughout your pregnancy. And some people notice changes in the texture and amount of their body hair.

Unfortunately, almost everyone feels uncomfortable at some point in their pregnancy. Some common issues include:

  • nausea or vomiting, especially in the morning

  • swollen and tender breasts

  • heartburn

  • constipation

  • aches and pains in your lower back and hips

  • tiredness and fatigue

  • trouble sleeping

There are things you can do to feel more comfortable, like changing your diet, and doing certain exercises. Your doctor, nurse, or midwife will have tips for feeling better during your pregnancy.

How do I relieve common pregnancy discomforts?

For nausea and vomiting:

  • Eat a few bites of food before getting out of bed.

  • Drink ginger or peppermint tea.

  • Eat small meals throughout the day, instead of a few big ones.

  • Drink fluids between meals instead of with your meals.

  • Avoid strong spices, strong odors, and greasy foods.

For heartburn:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day, instead of a few big ones.

  • Chew your food slowly.

  • Don't lie down for at least 1 hour after you eat.

  • Wear clothes that are loose around your waist.

  • Raise your head with pillows when you sleep.

For constipation

  • Eat food with lots of fiber (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals).

  • Drink more fluids.

  • Exercise.

Talk with your doctor, nurse, or midwife about getting help for pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away.

Was this page helpful?
You’re the best! Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks for your feedback.

This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.