Congratulations on the pregnancy! During the first few weeks you’re probably full of questions about what to expect, what to do and how to get ready for the newest addition to your family. Hopefully you’ve done a little bit of reading, some online research and are now getting ready to make the first trip to see your OBGYN. You might be slightly unsure of what to ask your doctor and if so here are a few ideas to help guide the conversation.
Remember, there are no right or wrong questions to ask.
Ask your doctor anything that you’re uncertain about. They will be more than happy to provide answers to these questions or at the very least guide you in the right direction of where to find them. Lastly, don’t forget to write down your questions and bring the list with you. Otherwise you’ll probably forget!
How much weight should I gain?
This is probably the number one question that most women have but don’t necessarily ask. Although weight gain can be a touchy subject it doesn’t have to be.
As a general guide most women usually gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy but this really depends on your starting weight. For example, women who are smaller in size may be asked to gain slightly more weight than those who are larger. For this reason it’s important to ask.
Am I at risk for any medical conditions or complications?
Hopefully the answer to this question is ‘no’ but sometimes your age, medical history, past pregnancy history or family history may put you at a slightly higher pregnancy risk. This is not automatically a reason to be concerned. It just means that you may need to be followed a little more closely throughout your pregnancy.
Common complications include:
- Women of older age (usually 35 or older)
- Those suffering from conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
- Having a previous high risk pregnancy
- Women with a high BMI
Do I need to do any genetic testing?
Genetic tests and routine screening can help spot medical issues like Downs syndrome or sickle cell disease early during the pregnancy. Some women may choose not to have any genetic tests done and that’s okay. For those who decide to go through with the testing the tests themselves are usually blood tests combined with other things such as an ultrasound scan. If either you or your partner are known to have genetic diseases that run in the family then having the tests done is always recommended.
What is your position on things like Inductions? Scheduled c-sections? Epidurals and other pain medications?
This question is one where it helps to do a tiny bit of research before speaking to your doctor. This way you’re in a better position to understand what the different options mean, what they include and what the possible risks and benefits of each action are.
This is a slightly more complex discussion that shouldn’t be rushed. Therefore you might need to make a separate appointment to see your doctor to discuss these items in detail. Midwives, maternity nurses and other healthcare advisors are also great sources of information when it comes to your options about birthing techniques, pain management and birth plans.
Are things like exercise and sex safe during my pregnancy?
The answer to both of these questions is usually yes but as with most advice it comes with some caveats that should be kept in mind. For example women that suffer from certain medical conditions, those who have had previous pregnancy difficulties or women with a medical history that makes either sex or exercise during pregnancy a problem, then your doctor will discuss this with you.
However for the vast majority of women both of these are okay. Exercise should be limited to moderate exercises like walking, jogging or swimming. If in doubt ask your OBGYN.
Support throughout your pregnancy
Don’t forget to ask your doctor about who to contact for different reasons. If you’re suffering from extreme morning sickness, have ongoing vaginal bleeding or severe stomach cramps who should be your first point of contact? In urgent cases the hospital should always be your first choice but in those non-urgent situations that require medical advice but don’t necessarily warrant a trip to the hospital who should you call?
Be sure to ask your doctor when they can be reached, if they prefer email or if they have other healthcare members on staff that can be contacted for non-urgent issues.
Other tips to keep in mind
- Doctors usually schedule the first prenatal appointment at 8-9 weeks of pregnancy and that’s normal.
- Ask your doctor about any prenatal or childbirth classes that they offer in their practice or that they can recommend in the local community
- If you’re on any medications be sure to mention this to your doctor. Some medications may need to be stopped.
Remember that your first appointment with your doctor will probably be the longest one so make it count and come prepared with questions in hand!