You are pregnant! Congratulations! Now what?
Your first order of business is to make an appointment with an OBGYN. Not all pregnancies are viable. A positive pregnancy test cannot predict a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, both of which can be dangerous. You can read more about this kind of pregnancy here. Making a doctor's appointment is very important to protect you and your baby.
But what questions do you need to ask a doctor?
A good doctor will cover all the basic “dos and do not," but sometimes they don’t mention the topics that you need to know the most about like, how much is this baby going to cost you?
Here are 15 of the most important questions to ask your OB on your first few visits.
What Over The Counter Medications Are Safe For Me To Take?
You will probably have headaches, cramps, and backaches. After all, you're growing a human so things are going to be sore as they stretch! But the good news is you don’t have to suffer--there are several things pregnant women can take over the counter for pain relief. Your doctor will have a printout of all the medicine that is safe for you to take so be sure to ask for it.
How Do I Combat Morning Sickness?
If you don’t feel it now, you probably will start to feel it between weeks 6-8. 50% of all pregnant women end up developing morning sickness. Ask your doctor how to prepare for it if and when it strikes. If you need to, ask about a nausea prescription to help with morning sickness.
When Is My Due Date And How Is It Determined?
Your due date is based on your last menstrual cycle, but if you don’t remember the date, the doctor will help you determine it based on an ultrasound. An ultrasound can give you a rough estimate of your conception date.
Is Bleeding Okay?
Implantation bleeding is normal, like a light period. However, heavy bleeding can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. Ask your doctor about what to look for. If you are in doubt, always seek medical help immediately.
How Much Weight Should I Gain?
You need to gain weight during your pregnancy. Extra weight will help nourish you and your baby, and it is usually lost pretty easily after birth. Every woman is a different size and will need a custom ballpark number of how much weight is safe for her to gain. Gaining too much weight, however, can cause risks.
Can I Work? For How Long, And Do I Need To Change Anything?
Tell your doctor what you do for work. Are you at a computer all day? Are you in manual labor? Do you work around chemicals or toxic substances? The doctor might recommend more exercise if you are sitting too much or they might give you a doctor's note to move you to a different workstation if you are exposed to chemicals or carry loads that are too heavy. Always tell your doctor about your workplace.
Who Will Deliver My Baby?
Sometimes your doctor might work within a team of doctors and they take turns being on call. If it is important for you to be with the same doctor your entire pregnancy and delivery, make sure that your doctor is aware of your wishes. Some hospitals have different protocols and different rules about who they call when it's time to deliver. If your doctor might not be able to deliver your baby, ask for a recommendation to see another doctor who will be there every step of the way. Most women find that it is best to stay with the same care provider throughout pregnancy and delivery.
How Do I Prepare For Labor?
It’s never too early to prepare. Knowing what the future holds is the best way to fight anxiety and to experience a smooth delivery. Ask your doctor how to prepare and what to expect in the future.
Who Can I Turn To For Breastfeeding Support?
Regardless if you plan on nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, having a team of feeding/lactation consultants can greatly help you feel confident in yourself and give you the tools you need for success. Most hospitals have great lactation consultants and a huge variety of free classes you can take to educate you and help you prepare for feeding your baby. Don't wait until after your baby is born to learn about feeding. Get a head start today and ask your doctor about the resources available to you!
Can I Take My Current Prescriptions?
If you are taking medication, let your doctor know immediately. Some medications could cause great harm to your baby and your safety. Always ask!
What Foods Should I Avoid?
One bummer of pregnancy is that you might have to cut out a few of your favorite foods. Some wild fish have high levels of mercury and other foods like soft cheese and lunch meat are more likely to carry food-borne illnesses that can cause complications to your pregnancy. Ask your doctor for a printable list of foods you should avoid (and the best ones to eat!) And remember, it's only for nine months and you can go back to eating them!
What Pregnancy Symptoms Are Normal? Which Are Not?
Many symptoms in pregnancy are common and benign. It’s common to have cramps, for example. However, there are different kinds of cramping. Some cramps are early signs of miscarriage while others are just from your body stretching. Ask your doctor how to tell the difference between dangerous symptoms and common aches and pains.
Is It Safe To Have Sex During My Pregnancy?
While it is safe to have sex during pregnancy, if you have an underlying condition or if you have an STD, you need to have a conversation about this with your doctor.
How Much Will My Delivery Cost?
If you don’t have insurance, there are many options available for you. The hospital might have a payment plan or a forgiveness program, or they can help you sign up for emergency Medicaid. Knowing how much you will be expected to pay for your hospital delivery will help you prepare financially over the coming months.
How Often Will I Need To See You?
If you have a medical condition or are at high risk, your doctor might want to see you weekly. If you are healthy, your doctor will want to see you every 4-6 weeks until your third trimester when you will need to be seen every week until delivery. Asking will help you know how to plan appointments around work and family.
Pregnancy has a lot of tasks to fulfill and there are many things to do. But these steps prepare you for a smooth delivery and easy postpartum recovery. Many women find that they take better care of themselves than they ever did pre-pregnancy once they have another person to care for. Use this time to focus on your self-care and to appreciate the amazing, powerful things your body can do!