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OB Gyn Associates of Iowa City and Coralville

Your First Steps as an Expectant Mother

I just got a BFP (big fat positive) after POAS (peeing on a stick)! AKA - I just found out I’m pregnant. Now what?

Congratulations! Having a baby is exciting, but preparing yourself can be overwhelming—especially if you’re pregnant for the first time. Here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Call us to schedule your first appointment

Your first appointment will be when you are about eight to ten weeks along. You can call to schedule this appointment as soon as you get your BFP! We will want to know the first day of your LMP (last menstrual period) to help determine when best to schedule you. Please have your insurance information available when calling to schedule. 

You can prepare for this appointment by talking to your family about your medical history. The earlier your healthcare provider is aware of potential genetic conditions, the better. At your first appointment, your doctor will discuss what to expect over the course of your pregnancy and you’ll get an idea of how often you’ll be seen. If you are interested in any genetic testing, you can discuss this at the first appointment as well. Some genetic testing can be done as early as 10 weeks.

Lifestyle, behaviors, and medications

The best thing you can do for your baby’s health is to quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to preterm birth, birth defects, and stillbirth. Limit your exposure to secondhand smoke as much as possible as being around tobacco smoke can compromise your health as well as the health of your developing baby. Quitting for good can be difficult, so if you’re struggling, speak to your healthcare provider about strategies to help. Quit Line Iowa has some helpful resources to get you started. 

Despite what you may hear, there is no “safe” amount of alcohol that an expectant mother should consume while pregnant. If you’re drinking alcohol, so is your baby. Alcohol in your blood is passed to the baby via the umbilical cord. The result can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a wide range of physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that affect you and your child for life.

Certain prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and even dietary or herbal supplements can cause serious birth defects. It’s best to discuss the medications you’re currently taking with your doctor before becoming pregnant to make sure you only continue medications that are necessary and won’t negatively affect your pregnancy.

Taking at least 400 micrograms of Folic Acid daily at least one month before becoming pregnant and throughout your pregnancy can help prevent birth defects involving your baby’s brain and spine. Many prenatal vitamins include folic acid.

Regular visits to your obstetrician are important. Our physicians want to ensure the best health care for you and your baby by monitoring your pregnancy and ensuring proper tests are completed along the way.


Preparing for a baby can be both overwhelming and amazing. By knowing what to expect, you can enjoy the excitement of this time. We look forward to caring for you and your baby!