When to Go to the Doctor After a Pregnancy Test
One of the first things many women do after missing their period or experiencing nausea, breast tenderness, or other symptoms involves taking store-bought pregnancy tests. After receiving a positive or inconclusive result on a pregnancy test, there are bound to be questions and concerns about what to do next.
As rare as false positives are, they do happen. False negatives are even rarer. Some medical conditions can trigger false or inaccurate pregnancy results or symptoms test results, such as ectopic or hormonal irregularities. Even if you take several tests to ease your mind, one of the first things you’ll need to do is see a doctor to confirm your results and learn how far along you may be. The timing of this visit can impact your situation and your next steps.
Start Searching for an OB/GYN
If you don't already have an OB/GYN or certified nurse-midwife in mind, now is a good time to get started searching for one. Ask friends, family, and colleagues for referrals and take the search online to check out reviews and recommendations. Don't forget to ask the primary care or family physician for recommendations as well. After narrowing down choices, it’s time to make an appointment. You can call (866) 938-7256 to find a doctor or midwife with West Suburban Medical Center.
What to Expect at the Doctor After a Pregnancy Test
When contacting the doctor’s office, you may need to answer personal questions about your most recent missed period and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Then, you’ll work with scheduling to set up an appointment. Usually, prenatal visits start around the eighth week of suspected pregnancy (four weeks after your missed period).
For some women, appointments to verify pregnancy test results may occur earlier, such as if there are concerns about being further along in pregnancy than expected or serious or potentially life-threatening medical issues.
Today’s pregnancy tests are highly accurate. Many brands provide results with greater than 98% accuracy. Still, mistakes and inaccurate results are common. Seeing the doctor after taking an at-home pregnancy test is beneficial for a definitive result you can trust. That way, you can evaluate your situation and family planning goals and make the necessary adjustments and decisions to achieve them.
When to See a Doctor After a Pregnancy Test
Ideally, you should contact a doctor within the first few days after taking a pregnancy test. It’s best to schedule an appointment with a medical provider to confirm pregnancy test results around the eighth-week mark after a missed period. Some women may need to see a physician sooner if they experience any of the following symptoms.
- Severe abdominal or vaginal pain
- Unusual or unexpected bleeding
- Sudden swelling of the hands, face, or feet
- Extreme or persistent nausea
- Excessive headaches
- Have a chronic or autoimmune condition
- Persistent itching
Pregnancy changes the body, starting from the moment of conception. Besides the broad range of emotions you may experience during pregnancy, it’s important to pay attention to any current changes or symptoms you may be having or may experience in the next several months.
How to Prepare After a Pregnancy Test
During your appointment, be prepared to discuss any pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing and your health history. In addition to seeing a doctor after a pregnancy test, it is beneficial to assess lifestyle and health behaviors and make adjustments to support the growing life inside and personal health and wellness.
Pregnancy is not always easy, and symptoms vary greatly. Consider making the following changes after a positive pregnancy test.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins and supplements. Nutritional deficiencies are common during pregnancy and can have significant and lasting effects on outcomes. For example, folic acid is critical for brain health and for preventing birth defects. Aim for pregnancy supplements or vitamins that contain at least 600 micrograms.
- Make good dietary food choices. Everything a growing fetus needs, it takes from its mother. Consume foods high in nutrients, healthy fats, etc., and increase hydration. Pregnancy also increases the calories and nutrients expectant moms need for optimal energy and physical and mental health.
- Stop recreational substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and nicotine. These substances are dangerous and increase the risk of low birth weight, premature births, birth defects, and potentially life-threatening conditions for both mom and the growing baby.
- Schedule and attend all prenatal care appointments. Prenatal care is important to detect conditions or issues that put the pregnancy at risk. Make sure to choose an OB/GYN or pregnancy doctor you feel comfortable with. Inform them of all health or emotional concerns you have about pregnancy. Don't forget to review any medical or potentially risky behaviors or medications with the doctor to prevent complications.
- Report any unusual or concerning changes or symptoms to the doctor. “Perfect” or symptomless pregnancies are normal, but many women develop symptoms that may require additional medical attention, care, or intervention.
For example, the risk of miscarriage is highest during the first several weeks of pregnancy, also known as the first trimester. After that, the risk declines, and viability increases.
Though most miscarriages occur due to genetic incompatibility, it is not unusual for some to occur during the later stages of pregnancy, when the risk of danger to the mother increases in some cases. Also, symptoms leading up to miscarriage don't always occur.
After taking a pregnancy test, one of the best things to do is make an appointment with a medical provider.
To learn more about prenatal services, including pregnancy confirmations and more, contact us at (866) 938-7256 today!
Nationally Ranked Maternity Care
West Suburban Medical Center is one of the leading maternity care centers in the country. The Family Birthplace has been recognized as one of the nation’s top maternity centers on Newsweek’s list of Best Maternity Hospitals in 2021 and 2022.
This prestigious award is shared by only several hundred hospitals around the country and is presented by Newsweek and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider.