For insurance reasons, I can't see my obstetrician for an initial visit for this pregnancy until my second trimester. How long is it OK to wait?
I am glad to see that you are interested in taking the best care of your little one, even before your health insurance kicks in. That is a great start on motherhood! And if everything is destined to go well, it wouldn't matter when you started prenatal care. The purpose of prenatal care is primarily to prevent problems, and to detect complications as they develop. Since you don't have a crystal ball to know if everything is destined to go well, though, it is always best to start prenatal care as soon as feasible.
Ideally, care actually starts with a consultation before conception, so the mom can find out how to take care of her little embryo right from the get go. Fetal organs start to form even before the typical eight- to 10-week first prenatal visit, and advice about lifestyle risks (like alcohol), diet (like getting enough folic acid), medication use, and genetic tests that might be offered before pregnancy (like cystic fibrosis or tay sachs carrier testing) may make a difference even before pregnancy is diagnosed. At the usual first prenatal visit we cover those issues, run routine blood tests for anemia, etc., and discuss prenatal genetic testing options. The later it gets during pregnancy, the more opportunities for prevention have passed.
You may be able to obtain low cost or free prenatal care in a public clinic or free clinic before you start with your own doctor or midwife. Your records can be transferred once you establish with your doctor or midwife. Also state-sponsored insurance like Medicaid typically covers the whole pregnancy retroactively once you are enrolled.
Consider doing a little research into your options before you delay starting your care. Maybe you will find a way to get started without breaking the bank.