Heading into uncharted territory is nerve wracking and sitting half naked at your OB appointment is no exception. So to help new mommies keep their thoughts in order here are some questions to be sure to ask your OB when you meet with them for the first time.
When should I call you?
Doctors will generally say any bleeding, persistent pain, watery discharge from the vagina, or any concerns you have at all you should call. This is a great opportunity to tell if they’re going to be attentive to you or if they will just write you off as a “new mom.” If you don’t get a good feeling by their response, look somewhere else.
Am I at increased risk for any diseases?
Asking this early on is helpful for understanding future screenings you may have. You should also ask about what screenings you will have or have the option to have. Then you can decide if you will do all of the screenings available or if you will pick and choose. You might also want to ask for a price on these incase they are not covered by insurance.
What over the counter meds are okay, what should I avoid?
Inform your doctor of any meds you currently take on a daily basis, and ask about pain medications they recommend and the dosage. Also, anything homeopathic should be brought up to them as well so they understand what you are ingesting, or using topically.
What symptoms should I expect? How can I manage them?
Getting an idea of what pregnancy symptoms your doctor feels are normal is going to be helpful later on when deciding when to call. The internet has a lot of varying opinions on normal and not normal so staying off of Google (hard I know!) and sticking with your doctor’s guidelines and your gut will be a lot easier later on.
What is your on call schedule like? When are your vacations?
For my own piece of mind I like to know if my due date falls right in line with my doctors Christmas break, or spring vacation. That way I am prepared to deliver with a doctor I may not have seen many times. You will most likely see at least one other doctor during your prenatal visits exactly for that reason.
Prenatal/Childbirth Education Classes
Ask about childbirth education and what classes they recommend you should take. Sometimes nothing is provided and you have to go elsewhere, but there might be something provided for you as a patient and attending where you will actually be delivering is ideal.
Inductions, C-sections, Epidurals, Episiotomies, Vacuum, Forceps usage, IVs and EFMs, and Delayed cord clamping? What are my options?
Finding out how your doctor operates during delivery is essential to your birth plan. You want to know your doctors stance on these areas so you can plan accordingly and know what to expect when the time comes to deliver.
Ultrasound Schedule and Baby’s Heartbeat
The most exciting appointments in the pregnancy journey are ultrasound appointments and heartbeat appointments. Your first few appointments may not be either of these and even though it is disappointing, it’s okay. Don’t freak out, they will check soon!
The prenatal appointments can be intimidating and sometimes confusing if you aren’t clear on what your doctor means when discussing future appointments or tests with you. Do not be intimidated by this, just ask the questions you have and do not leave until you feel comfortable with the answers. The medical world for non-medical people (ahem, me) can feel overwhelming and confusing but this is just the beginning of learning how to be an advocate for yourself and your new baby. No question is stupid, so speak up, and be confident!