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Suppose you’ve just confirmed your pregnancy through a home pregnancy test or in a medical facility. In that case, the next step after finding the right care provider for your needs is to schedule your very 1st prenatal appointment with your ob-gyn. Prenatal care is an essential part of your journey as it will make the pregnancy much safer, not only for you but also for your baby.
If you’re a first-time mom, you might be thinking about your first prenatal visit questions. You have a lot to ask your ob-gyn and this is understandable. After all, it’s a new experience in your life. If this isn’t your 1st pregnancy, it’s still advisable to have a list of your first ob-gyn appointment questions for this particular pregnancy. Each pregnancy differs, and you may also feel the need to raise some new concerns you didn’t worry about in your previous pregnancies.
Your first prenatal visit
Expect your doctor to thoroughly examine you on your 1st prenatal visit, scheduled between weeks 6 and 8 of pregnancy. Your prenatal care team will carry out a physical exam that includes checking your current weight, blood pressure, and a pelvic examination. Your doctor may also do a breast examination or even a pap smear to check for possible cervical infections or cervical cancer.
Your doctor will have your bloodwork done to check for anemia, blood type and rule out hepatitis B and HIV, which can compromise your health as you go along with your pregnancy. He may also request a urine test to check your sugar and protein levels.
Your first prenatal appointment is also the best opportunity for your doctor to get familiar with your overall health conditions. So be open to answering questions that might help your doctor assess and ensure your pregnancy will be a safe and healthy one. Those questions may provide useful information such as:
- Your last menstrual period to help them have an idea of when your due date will be
- Your personal and family health history
- Your lifestyle habits such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use, if any
- Any history of postpartum depression in your previous pregnancy
Questions to ask your doctor at your first prenatal appointment
The first prenatal visit questions act as a conversation starter as you gradually adjust to your doctor’s presence for the next 40 weeks of your life and the life inside you. Take advantage of this moment to “fire” those burning prenatal consultation questions.
Here’s what to ask your ob-gyn at first visit:
1. Is this really a pregnancy symptom?
If this is your 1st pregnancy, you’ll most likely be clueless about whether what you’re feeling is normal or not. You might assume that some of the pregnancy symptoms are from mood and body changes caused by PMS (premenstrual syndrome). This is the best opportunity to ask why your morning sickness lasts all day, every day, and the recommended remedy if there’s any.
If you’ve been cramping, with or without “spotting,” it’s also advisable to inform your doctor about it. Your doctor may recommend a sonogram to check for the presence of your baby’s heartbeat and to rule out the possibility of a subchorionic hemorrhage.
2. Is my medication safe for my baby and me?
Since your doctor will be asking you about your personal and family medical history, why don’t you grab this opportunity to discuss the medication you’ve been taking pre-pregnancy while you’re at it? If you have a preexisting disease, you should disclose it to your doctor to help you maintain good health throughout the pregnancy.
Ask about the safety of the medication that may have been prescribed to you before pregnancy. You may also inquire about which over-the-counter medicines are safe to take and the drugs to avoid while pregnant. You can also discuss the supplements you’re currently taking. Remember always to follow your doctor’s orders regarding any medication or supplements you’re allowed to consume during your pregnancy.
It’s also wise to ask about the vaccines you should get while you’re pregnant. These shots provide immunity for you and your unborn child.
3. How much weight can I safely gain in pregnancy?
If you’re a health and fitness buff or simply curious, include weight-related questions in your first ob-gyn appointment. Most pregnant women should add between 11.5-16 kgs during their entire pregnancy. You should know that what you now weigh consists of your baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, breast tissue, blood supply, fat stores, and uterine growth.
Your doctor will determine how much weight you can gain safely, depending on your pre-pregnancy body mass index. Your care provider can also discuss how to manage your weight by giving you a proper pregnancy diet plan to avoid complications arising from excessive weight gain or underlying conditions such as diabetes or hypertension.
4. Can I workout during pregnancy?
Unless your doctor warns that your pregnancy is a high-risk one, it’s preferable to continue doing some light physical activity such as brisk walking, swimming, or even light aerobic exercises. You may also take prenatal yoga classes, which are beneficial for your labor and childbirth. They can also help with your breathing and relaxation as you face the physical demands of pregnancy.
As a rule of thumb when it comes to pregnancy and working out, don’t overdo it and always know when to stop. Call your doctor if you’re experiencing chest pains, dizziness, or tightening of your tummy during and after your workout routine.
5. Can I continue working? How about travel?
Will it be safe to continue working if you’re a career woman? Well, it depends on the nature of your job. You’ll likely continue if your job doesn’t involve too much strenuous activity or if you don’t have any pregnancy complication that requires you to slow down or be placed on bed rest.
Traveling during pregnancy is generally safe unless you have certain conditions that may restrict your travel or if you’re nearing your due date. It’s always good to consult your doctor before planning any trip so they can assess whether it’s safe for you to travel or not.
6. Can we discuss my birth plan?
You are not required to have a birth plan, but it’s good to have one. Communicating your needs will help set your birthing expectations and determine who you want to involve in the birth process and even after that. Your doctor should provide answers about what will happen if birthing plans have to change.
If you’ve been pregnant before, the questions to ask regarding your birth plan should be based on your previous experience. For instance, if you’ve had a high-risk pregnancy, you can relay all your previous and current concerns to ensure you give birth safely when your D-day comes. If you had a C-section before, you could ask about the possibility and risks of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
Your 1st prenatal appointment is a very significant part of your journey. The information shared during this visit will help you and your ob-gyn to know vital details for this exhilarating stage. Don’t miss or delay the appointment because it’s the best time to raise any questions you think might help you understand pregnancy and childbirth better.