Week 12 of Pregnancy: My First Prenatal Check Up

Fetal DopplerWhen I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I went to our first prenatal check up with our homebirth midwife during week 12 of pregnancy when I was eleven weeks and six days along. I was super excited but also a little nervous. I was excited about hearing the fetal heartbeat for the first time. I was nervous because of the initial fiasco with finding a midwife who would attend a planned homebirth. I had really liked the first midwife that we had initially interviewed. However, I also really liked the second midwife, who had actually trained the first. So, with some questions in tow, James and I set out for our first prenatal check up with our midwife on the Friday afternoon on June 24.

During week 12 of pregnancy, I weighed  about 117.9 pounds, which was down a bit from before I conceived my daughter. My biggest symptoms were back ache and fatigue. I had also noticed my abdomen had started to stick out a little. Because of the loss of my first pregnancy to a miscarriage, my biggest fear for my first prenatal check up was that the midwife would not be able to find the fetal heartbeat with the fetal Doppler. Starting around week 12 of pregnancy, a fetal Doppler will pick up the majority of fetal heartbeats. Therefore, as soon as we arrived for our appointment, I was feeling anxious about finally hearing the heartbeat.

The first that happened at my first prenatal check up was that my midwife took my weight. According to her scale, I weighed 118.5 pounds, which was about two pounds less than at our initial visit back in April. Although many pregnant women gain a few pounds during the first trimester, some also lose some weight as well. Because of my constant queasiness and occasional vomiting during the past eight weeks, I had ended up losing some weight. However, my minor weight loss was not a big deal for me or my developing baby.

After being weighed, I was still eagerly awaiting the chance to hear the fetal heartbeat for the first time. However, first my midwife and her student midwife-in-training went over the history forms I had filled out. Then I changed into a robe. Next the student midwife took my vital signs and performed a basic checked up. Finally, after a short period of time that seemed like an eternity, she started checking on my baby.

I was both nervous and excited when the midwife pulled out the fetal Doppler. Despite the pile of positive home pregnant tests that said otherwise, part of me was still sure that I was not actually pregnant. However, the midwife-in-training easily found the fetal heartbeat. My daughter then stubbornly moved, but the student midwife was quickly able to find the heartbeat again. I felt so relieved to hear that little heart beating at 155 beats per minute. A weight was definitely lifted off my shoulders. I was finally convinced that my baby was growing inside me! My entire first prenatal check up went great. The midwife said that everything looked healthy. And I was incredibly relieved to hear the fast little fetal heartbeat of my developing baby.

How did you feel when you heard the fetal heartbeat for the first time?

Image Credits

Fetal Doppler: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Doptone.jpg

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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