Congrats, you’re pregnant! Prepare for your first prenatal appointment by writing down a list of questions to ask your OB.
Your first prenatal appointment can be overwhelming. I distinctly remember sitting in the passenger seat of my ’97 Pontiac Firebird as my husband drove to the obstetrician’s office. I had so many questions running through my mind.
How far along am I?
Is the baby healthy?
Am I going to have to exchange my two-door sports car for a minivan?
With so much excitement, it can be hard to remember what questions to ask once you finally make it to your appointment.
If you did not meet with your OB before becoming pregnant, your first prenatal visit will likely be about eight weeks following your last menstrual period, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
During this appointment, the nurse will take your height, weight, and blood pressure. After going through your family and medical history, a cervical and breast exam may be performed.
At the end of your visit, your OB will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have.
10 Important Questions to Ask
1. How Far Along Am I?
If you have regular periods, you can determine how far along you are by the date of your last period. However, ladies with irregular periods cannot always determine how many weeks pregnant they are by their menstrual cycles alone.
At your first prenatal visit, your OB may schedule an early ultrasound to determine how far along you are and your estimated due date. A physical exam can also give clues.
2. How Many Visits Will I Have?
You can expect to see your OB quite frequently during your pregnancy. If you suffer from a preexisting health condition or develop complications during pregnancy, the number of visits may go up significantly.
For an ordinary pregnancy, your doctor may want to see you once a month until your second trimester when two appointments a month are recommended. In the last month of pregnancy, your doctor may want to see you once a week.
3. Who Will Deliver My Baby?
One of my biggest concerns even early in my pregnancy was who would deliver the baby. I had built a trusting relationship with my longtime gynecologist and wanted him to be in the delivery room in the end.
However, I knew that there was always a chance that he would be unavailable and another doctor would step in. For this reason, it’s a good idea to meet all the doctors and midwives in the practice.
4. How Much Weight Should I Gain?
Cravings are common in pregnancy. In fact, 50 to 80 percent of all pregnant women will experience some type of craving, according to the Utah Department of Health.
Cravings, coupled with natural pregnancy weight, may have you concerned about how much you’re gaining as your pregnancy progresses. For peace of mind, ask your doctor how much you should gain based on your current BMI.
5. Do I Need to Stop Taking My Medications?
There are certain medications and supplements that are not safe for use while pregnant. In the United States, the FDA gives drugs a rating based on how safe they are to use during pregnancy.
Drugs rated A or B are considered safe, while drugs in category C have unknown outcomes. Drugs rated D can cause harm to some fetuses, while drugs rated X should never be taken by pregnant women.
Tell your doctor if you currently take any over-the-counter or prescription drugs or supplements.
6. Can I Continue to Exercise?
Many pregnant women prefer to keep up with a regular exercise routine throughout their pregnancy to feel energized and fit.
While most types of exercise are safe to perform during pregnancy, you don’t want to overdo it. Ask your OB how often you should work out and if there are any activities that are now off limits.
7. What Prenatal Tests Do I Need?
Expect to undergo a number of prenatal tests and screenings throughout your pregnancy. Becoming pregnant puts you at risk for a number of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, iron deficiency, and gestational diabetes.
Your doctor will routinely perform checks to ensure that you stay healthy. Your baby will also be screened for birth defects, such as Down syndrome, heart defects, and abnormalities of the abdominal wall.
8. What Should I Eat?
You already know you need to eat healthy during pregnancy. Unfortunately, many pregnant women do not get enough calcium, iron, folate, protein, and vitamin D, according to John Muir Health.
It’s important to eat a balanced diet supplemented with a daily prenatal vitamin. Your doctor may also advise against certain foods, such as raw meats, shellfish, deli meats, smoked meats, soft cheeses, and mercury-rich fish.
9. Is This Normal During Pregnancy?
From cramping and discharge to constipation and weird cravings, you may be wondering if the symptoms you’re experiencing are normal.
While some symptoms such as severe cramping could indicate a problem like early miscarriage, most mild symptoms are nothing to worry about. To ease your fears, explain your concerns to your OB.
10. What Is Your Birth Philosophy?
Not every obstetrician is right for every patient. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your doctor and trust the choices he makes. Ask your OB about his philosophy regarding birth.
Topics you may want to bring up include birth positions, pain medication, and delivery intervention. Even if you don’t expect to run into these types of problems during pregnancy, the unexpected can happen and you want to be prepared.
First-time moms have a lot of questions. At your first prenatal appointment, you’ll have ample opportunity to get the answers you seek. Learning what you can expect can put many of your fears and concerns to rest so that you can really get excited about your pregnancy.