Making an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN) can sometimes be a little intimidating and some women may put it off altogether but the truth is that the majority of patients find the experience informative, relaxing and stress free. When you’re pregnant or if you’re considering starting a family it’s especially important to visit your OBGYN and here are the Top 5 reasons why.
1 – Make an appointment before you start trying to conceive
If you and your partner feel like you’re at the point in your life where you would like to start a family be sure to also make an appointment to see your OBGYN at the same time. Many women don’t think they need to see an OBGYN prior to pregnancy but nothing could be further from the truth. During your pre-pregnancy appointment you can have a general health check-up, discuss any concerns about conception or pregnancy, undergo some blood tests if necessary and find out what pre-pregnancy supplements you should be taking such as folic acid.
Additionally, if you were previously on birth control this is also a good opportunity to discuss stopping its use, side effects you may experience and answers to the question about how quickly your monthly cycle will return to normal and the earliest you can expect to conceive. Seeing your OBGYN before conceiving is definitely worth the effort.
2 – When you first find out you’re pregnant
If you are already pregnant or just found out about the pregnancy, Congratulations! Your OBGYN is especially important at this phase of your pregnancy. Obstetricians (also known as the baby deliverers) are an essential part to any safe and healthy pregnancy. If it is your first appointment since finding out about your pregnancy then you’ll likely have a longer appointment where your doctor can do a physical examination, carry out basic blood tests and go over all the important parts of your medical history. Based on these findings your doctor can also classify your pregnancy as low risk or high risk.
Your OBGYN can also discuss early-pregnancy issues that you may be having and the best way to handle them. They will also advise you on what medications are safe to take during pregnancy, which ones to avoid, exercises you can still participate in and how to stay healthy for the duration of your pregnancy.
3 – To monitor your progress and the health of your baby
As your pregnancy progresses you will likely have monthly appointments with your doctor just to check how you’re doing and how the pregnancy is advancing. If you’re suffering from things like morning sickness, heartburn, constipation or swollen joints it’s also another good reason to visit your doctor. OBGYN’s have seen just about everything and can give helpful advice on how to best manage your symptoms.
4 – Unexpected or worrying symptoms
If you’re concerned about any symptoms you may be having an OBGYN will always be your best source of advice. Keep in mind that emergency situations such as heavy bleeding and cramping, persistent headaches or severe morning sickness should always be seen in the ER but for less severe symptoms a trip to your OBGYN is definitely warranted. They will be able to carry out a full examination, monitor the baby and prescribe any medications if necessary.
5 – Postpartum care: Breastfeeding and coping with your newborn baby
Once your baby is born it’s not time to forget your OBGYN just yet. In fact just the opposite. Book a few follow-up appointments with them to make sure that you are coping well at home –both physically and mentally. They’ll answer any questions you may have about breastfeeding, childcare or any issues you may notice with the baby such as sleeping, feeding or growth.
You can also discuss birth control options if you are not looking to conceive immediately.
Your OBGYN will be a great guide during the entire process of pregnancy –before, during and after. They come with a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise so be sure to visit them as often as necessary to help keep your pregnancy progressing smoothly and safely.