Top Questions to Ask at Your First Prenatal Visit

Maybe you interviewed a dozen midwives before finding the right one, or maybe your maternity care continues with the same family doctor you’ve trusted for years. Regardless of your circumstances, the first prenatal appointment is a big appointment.

Not only will your prenatal care provider check to make sure both you and your baby are on track, but it’s also your first chance to ask those burning questions you’ve been thinking about since you first saw each other. that positive pregnancy test. But, as many of us know, it’s common for your mind to go completely blank when a provider inevitably asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” at the end of an appointment.

To make sure you get all the answers you need, spend some time in the days before your first appointment thinking about whether you have any other questions. “Be sure to write down … any specific questions that are troubling you and get them answered,” she suggests Diane Hlavacek, MD, a retired OB-GYN in Scottsdale, Arizona. “This will not only alleviate your personal concerns but also begin to create a meaningful and trusted bond with your health care provider.”

Not sure what questions you should ask at your first prenatal appointment? We’ve covered some of the most common (and useful) questions to ask your provider.

Should I Make Any Changes to My Diet?

You shouldn’t feel like you need to restrict your diet – pregnant or not – but this is definitely not the time to try to cut calories. That said, it is important to eat a balanced, nutritional diet for your sprouting beans. If you’re worried, discussing your regular diet with your provider and getting their advice can help put your mind at ease. It is very important to discuss your eating habits if you have dietary restrictions, are at risk for gestational diabetes, or have trouble keeping food down due to morning sickness.

Is the glass of wine I drank before I found out I was pregnant a Big Deal?

This is a common concern because it is already known fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) can have devastating effects on a fetus. However, Dr. Hlavacek of some certainty: “Alcohol in the system at or during conception [shouldn’t] cause problems.” Regardless, go ahead and let your provider know about it, and follow Dr. Hlavacek’s advice to stop drinking alcohol as soon as you discover you’re pregnant.

How Much Weight Should I Gain?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) It is recommended that expectant parents average weight gain between 25 and 35 pounds throughout pregnancy. However, your provider can help you adjust that number. If you are underweight or overweight, expecting a lot, or under certain other factors, you may need to gain less or more than usual.

If you are currently undergoing treatment for or in recovery from an eating disorder, it is important to do so bring it to your appointment. You can expect to be weighed at each prenatal visit, and your provider will want to know if this is a trigger for you. Additionally, by disclosing your situation to your OB-GYN, you provide them with valuable medical history that will affect how they treat you and your pregnancy.

Can I Continue to Exercise?

The answer to this question is probably “yes,” with a few exceptions. If you participate in high-impact exercise—think horseback riding or contact sports—you’ll need to abstain during your 40-week stint, and a high-risk pregnancy could result in some also restricting exercise. Staying active while expecting has so many benefits, however, that most parents-to-be are encouraged to keep up their exercise routines. If, before pregnancy, you weren’t very active but you suddenly feel compelled to move, ask your provider about the best way to safely implement a new routine.

When Should I Start Sleeping on My Side?

“The reason patients are encouraged to sleep on their sides is to take the weight of the pregnant uterus off the large vessels that return blood to the heart,” explained Dr. Hlavacek. Usually, your uterus won’t be heavy enough to make this necessary until somewhere around or after the 20-week mark. But as with everything, we recommend getting your provider’s opinion on when to make the transition—as well as getting some tips for transitioning if side-laying isn’t your preferred position.

Is Sex Still OK?

In most cases, there is no reason to restrict sex during pregnancy, but the best practice is always to ask. If you’re not quite ready for sex these days, that’s normal, too—and your care provider can ease your worries if you’re anxious or worried. (Good to know: Lipids tend to rev back up—usually more intense than before you conceived—after the first trimester. Because of the increased blood flow, orgasms tend to increase in intensity as well.)

Are My Beauty Products Safe?

Some of the most popular beauty products are considered unsafe during pregnancy, such as retinol or Botox, and even natural products may contain ingredients that are off-limits during pregnancy (for more more information, see our Complete Guide to a Pregnancy-Safe Beauty Tradition). The easiest way to get the a-OK on all your beauty goods is to bring them to the appointment and have your provider read the labels. They can make alternative recommendations for products that are no longer safe.

What Prenatal Vitamin Do You Recommend?

Your health care provider may prescribe a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, or they may suggest an over-the-counter (OTC) variety. While all prenatal supplements offer a dose of critical vitamins and nutrients, your individual needs may prompt a specific recommendation from your midwife or OB. If you’ve started taking prenatal vitamins or supplements but are having trouble stopping them, your practitioner may recommend helpful solutions such as a smaller pill, a gummy or liquid version, or even to change the time of day you take it. .

Can I Continue Taking My Prescription Medicines?

Bring the bottles because it’s easiest for your provider to give a definite “yes” or “no” if they can see exactly what you’re doing. Some drugs will be approved, but many others will not. However, your provider should be able to help you find some viable alternatives to meet your needs.

Are Over-The-Counter Medicines Safe? At What Doses?

It seems unfair that pregnancy, a time with many ailments, is also a time when many of your remedies are off the table. When nonmedicated methods don’t work (saline drops and humidifiers for a stuffy nose; rest and ice for a headache), rest assured that you don’t have to suffer. Some approved OTC options may provide relief, and your healthcare team can fill you in on what they are.

Are There Any Pregnancy Symptoms I Should Watch For?

Discussing this topic ahead of time lets you know when to worry and when not to worry (which can free up your time to agonize over more exciting things, like prenatal classes, birth plans, and baby names!). Certain discomforts, such as mild cramping and spotting, may make you nervous but are generally not a big deal. However, not all pregnancies are created equal, so you need to know if there are any specifics in your situation that you should be aware of.

Does My Family Medical History Show Any Red Flags for Complications?

You should discuss medical concerns, family history, and mental health evaluations with your OB-GYN. If you have any risk factors that could increase your likelihood of experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, for example, it’s a good idea to tell them before your due date so your provider can better monitor your well-being after giving birth.

What Vaccinations Do You Recommend?

many recommended by practitioners receiving the flu (influenza) and Tdap (tetanus; diphtheria; pertussis, aka whooping cough) vaccines during pregnancy. If applicable, pregnant women are also offered the vaccination against COVID-19 and the RSV vaccine. First-time parents may have a lot of questions about vaccines, so it’s a good idea to talk about why and when they’re recommended and how they’ll benefit you and your baby before the needle comes out.

What’s the Best Way to Reach You After Hours?

Healthcare providers understand that your questions won’t always be seen during regular business hours, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a genuine concern. Once you’ve worked out the right way to get in touch, save the number in your phone (it’s likely to be the same number you use during office hours), so it’s ready to go if needed.

If possible, it’s best to go to your first prenatal appointment with a list of questions tailored to you and your needs (again, if you’re not sure where to start, go ahead and use the questions we’ve provided here). Your provider is there to put your mind at ease and keep you and your baby safe throughout your pregnancy, so they’ll be happy to answer any questions you bring to them. If, for some reason, your OB-GYN isn’t giving your questions the time and attention they deserve, it’s best to find out at your first appointment so you have plenty of time to find a new doctor who is a better fit for you .

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