What do you have to ask from your obstetrician during your initial prenatal visit?
Prenatal care is important for your health and the health of your baby. During your first prenatal visit with your obstetrician, you will be asked various questions about your health and your family medical history. This is also the time for you to ask questions regarding your prenatal care. Consider asking the following questions when meeting with your obstetrician for the first time:
1. What is Your Birthing Philosophy?
During your first prenatal visit, you may not have answers to questions like whether you would like to use pain medication during birth. However, this is the perfect opportunity to talk with your obstetrician regarding certain birthing philosophies. A few additional questions commonly involved in this topic may be:
- What is your policy on inducing labor?
- What situations would cause you to perform a cesarean section or an episiotomy?
- What is your opinion on natural childbirth?
- How long past my due date will I be allowed to go before intervention is necessary?
2. Should I Make Changes to My Current Lifestyle?
In the first trimester, all of the baby’s major organs are formed and the baby is most susceptible to damage. For this reason, it is important to eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet, especially during the first three months. Making this type of change will go a long way in a healthy pregnancy.
Additionally, if you currently have a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes, your doctor may recommend specific lifestyle changes, such as starting an exercise routine, in order to manage these conditions early on.
3. Should I Consider Prenatal Genetic Testing?
Women who are at risk of having a child with a genetic disorder have the option of performing noninvasive prenatal genetic testing. This is a screening option that requires a simple blood draw from the mother. The results will allow your doctor to determine the possibility that your baby may have a genetic disorder, and will indicate to your doctor whether further testing is recommended. Women who may want to consider prenatal genetic testing include women who:
- Are of advanced maternal age 35 or older
- Have a family medical history of a specific genetic disorder
- Have previously given birth to a child with a genetic disorder
- Other risk factors indicated to you by your physician
4. Can I Continue Taking My Current Prescription Medications?
Prescription medications are safe to take under normal conditions. However, when pregnant, some may be safer than others. In your initial visit with your obstetrician, tell your doctor all of the prescription medications you’re taking in addition to over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Your doctor will determine which ones are safe to continue taking throughout your pregnancy and, if necessary, may recommend a different prescription that is safe for use while pregnant.
5. What Symptoms Are Common and How Can I Manage Them?
During your pregnancy, you may experience symptoms that are unfamiliar to you. Each pregnancy is different. However, there are some common signs that indicate complications, such as severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. Knowing that your obstetrician will provide you with emotional and clinical support regarding pregnancy symptoms can reassure you that you will have the help you require when you need it the most.
Communicate Regularly With Your Obstetrician
It’s possible that you’ll think of many questions to ask your doctor throughout your pregnancy. Keep a notepad and pen with you to write down questions that occur to you throughout the day and bring it with you to each appointment. It is important to communicate regularly with your obstetrician in order to become well informed about your pregnancy.
- American Pregnancy Association: First Prenatal Visit
- TLCme: 5 Important Questions to Ask at Your First Prenatal Visit
- Mayo Clinic: High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Pregnancy – The First Trimester
- Pregnancy Magazine: Why first trimester is crucial for baby’s heart health
- Mayo Clinic: 7 Pregnancy Warning Signs