Why your first Ob-Gyn appointment actually starts at home

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From the moment you discover you’re pregnant, you’re thrust into the wild ride of parenthood—full of excitement and uncertainty at every turn. Just remember that while you may not be able to control everything, you’re still in the driver’s seat, and you’ll have plenty of allies to help guide the way.

Your Ob-Gyn is an important partner throughout your pregnancy journey and can help you make the best decisions for you and your baby. Your visits are a chance to ask questions and get personalized support, but the excitement or nervousness that many moms feel can make it hard to focus. Like with any important meeting, it helps to arrive feeling empowered by doing what you can to prepare at home.

Make a list

All great collaborations begin with a brainstorm. Spend some time writing out any and all questions about your pregnancy that come to mind. Once you’ve written them all down, comb through and highlight 5-10 that feel most important to you right now. This will give you a place to start.

Do your research mindfully

We live in an age of overwhelming information. On the positive side, the answer to many of your questions can be readily found online. Unfortunately, that may mean wading through a lot of inaccurate and potentially harmful information. Everyone’s experience is unique, so don’t take everything you read in forums as absolute truth. Try to stick to articles from organizations and sites you trust and seek out multiple sources. If you keep uncovering conflicting information, you’ve found a great topic to discuss with your doctor.

Test at home

Thanks to advances in science, some of the tests that traditionally took place in your Ob-Gyn’s office can now be taken from the comfort of home. For example, carrier screening from Invitae can test for more than 280 genetic conditions with just a sample of your saliva. It’s the very same test your doctor may order, delivered right to your door. Samples are processed at the Invitae lab and you’ll get secure, online results with important information about your likelihood of passing on certain genetic traits to your child. Included with your test is support from genetic counselors who can answer your questions and discuss options. They can even send results directly to your doctor, so you’ll both be ready to discuss them at your check-in.

Gather your history

During your first visit, your doctor will probably ask you a lot of questions about your medical history. Be prepared with some basic information about any past surgeries, major illnesses, allergies, and medications, along with details about your menstrual cycle and mental health history. This will help your doctor create a personalized care plan that will best support you and your growing baby. It’s easy to get flustered trying to remember it all, so it can help to create a document with this information that you can bring with you to your first visit.

Don’t hold back

Your first visit to your Ob-Gyn is expected to be a long one. You’re not the only mom-to-be with a lot of questions, so don’t feel shy about asking away. Bring your list of questions, test results, and details about your medical history and be prepared to take some serious notes.

Remember that your Ob-Gyn has had plenty of experience guiding these initial visits. You’re not expected to show up as a full-fledged expert, however, that doesn’t mean you should simply wing it. Today, expectant mothers have access to more information than ever. An at-home carrier screening from Invitae is a smart way to add one more trusted ally to your team. With a simple saliva test, you can save time, eliminate stress, and prepare to make the most of your first visit with your doctor.

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