Your very first prenatal visit can be a whirlwind experience. But, if you know what questions to ask first, it’ll be a lot easier. These five question suggestions can help guide you to a successful and well-informed relationship with your OBGYN.
1. Can I continue taking my current medications? If not, what alternatives are available?
In most cases, you’ll likely be able to continue taking your current medications. However, there are some medications that can harm the fetus in utero. Be up front about everything you’re taking. This includes over the counter meds or supplements. Ask whether you can continue your current treatment regimen and find out what alternatives are available. If you are on medication for depression or anxiety, you’ll want to pay attention to the way the doctor responds to this question. Doctors who aren’t sympathetic to these valid mental health issues at the prenatal stage might not be proactive about postpartum depression either. If you already know you’re prone to this issue, that should be a red flag.
Expectant mothers who need to stop taking medication for depression or anxiety should be referred to a therapist rather than simply left without any care at all during pregnancy.
2. Can you recommend any local prenatal classes?
Find out from an expert rather than just going to Google. You can follow up on your doctor’s suggestions independently to see which one works best for you.
3. What emergency symptoms should I be aware of and when should I call you or seek emergency care?
Your body is going to change a lot over the next several months. You’ll feel physical sensations you’ve probably never experience before. This can even be true if this isn’t your first pregnancy! That’s why it’s so important to know what’s a sign of something serious and what’s merely uncomfortable or weird.
Fever, spotting and severe cramps can be warning signs. But don’t just ask about specific symptoms—let your doctor run down a list of what you need to be aware of. Follow that up by making sure you know exactly when the sensations you’re feeling are emergency level and when they’re not so serious that you can’t wait a few hours for an appointment.
4. How often do you recommend a Cesarean? Episiotomy? Labor induction?
Find out where your OBGYN stands on issues such as episiotomy and other topics to get a sense for whether you’ll work well together.
This question isn’t limited to the topics listed above. If there are any issues that are really important to you in childbirth, whether it’s going the natural route (or not), avoiding the use of forceps, using pain medication after delivery or delivering at home, you should ask about it and see whether the response you get is in line with your priorities. Remember, this is as much an interview as it is a doctor’s appointment.
5. Should I change my daily routine?
Ask about specific cosmetic habits like painting your nails or getting spray tans. Include health-related routines like exercise and sex, diet, sleep and anything else that may need to change now that you’ve got a bun in the oven. If you do physical labor at work or anything else that might impact how your pregnancy progresses, be sure to ask about it.