When your partner becomes pregnant there are going to be a lot of doctors’ appointments. This is important, because its necessary to ensure that everything is progressing with the baby. By the time you get into the final months, doctor’s appointments are likely to be weekly and may even stretch to every few days if the baby goes past the due date. With so many appointments, it can be tough to schedule time off work to attend all of the appointments. The reality is you are going to have to miss at least one because the only slot the doctor has is going to clash with something at work that is just too critical to put off. Although note, that every appointment you may miss comes with the risk of a very unhappy partner! So, you had better have a good reason for skipping it. That being said, there are certain appointments that you need to prioritise.
The First Visit
It is quite possible, that the only appointment more important than this one is the actual birth of your child. It will be the first time you meet the doctor, first time you fill out all of the required forms, there are going to be a number of tests including the one that officially confirms that your partner is in fact pregnant. It is incredibly important that you are there, not just for the reasons just stated, but also t support your partner. The outcomes of the tests are literally life changing and both of you are potentially going to be overwhelmed as the reality to begins to dawn. Do not let her go through this alone. Even if she says you are fine to miss the appointment. It’s a trap, she wants to see if you want to be there because you want to support her, or if you are only there because you are forced to be there. This appointment will typically take place 2-4 weeks after she has missed her period, which would be 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy.
A month after the first visit
This is usually the second visit, but depending on the types of tests required, family medical background, any potential complications etc, since the first visit, this might be the third or even fourth. The visit itself is fairly routine with one exception. The standard check-up will consist of checking blood pressure, weight, sugar, and protein levels etc. The reason you should attend this appointment is because it’s usually around this 10-week mark that you will get to hear the heartbeat of your child for the first time. If it has not yet really sunk in that you are going to be a father, this will certainly help with that realisation!
This appointment means that you are officially through the first trimester. It means that your partner has made it through the period of the pregnancy where a miscarriage is statistically the most likely to occur. Its usually after this appointment that you get to confirm everything is OK and you can then tell the world that you are going to have a baby.
It’s usually around 20 weeks that the scans take place (3d imaging if you have a fancy doctor and medical insurance) to assess in detail the progress of the baby. They will be looking at development of the organs, brain, skull, confirm there are ten fingers and ten toes and reveal the gender of the baby. This is critical not just because you get to find out the gender, but as you likely begin reading up on pregnancy you realise just how much can go wrong during a pregnancy. So again, it’s incredibly important to be there for support. Once you get past this appointment, unless there is any serious complication, the rest of the appointments are all very routine and your partner is likely to be a little more accepting if you do have to miss one.
*If you would like a personal coaching session via zoom with myself to help you navigate your first time dad journey, you can reach out to me directly by sending me a message on social media or the “contact” page on my website to organise a session