Once you make your first OBGYN appointment, chances are, you’ll have a lot of questions, or you won’t know which ones to ask first! A good doctor will go over everything that you need to know to grow a healthy baby safely. But even the best doctors don’t think to ask or answer every single question! In this blog post, we will break down the most common and important questions to ask your doctor by trimester.
What Can I Do To Prepare For And Prevent Morning Sickness?
While many women never suffer from nausea and food aversions, it’s best to talk with your doctor about what to do if you wake up clinging to the toilet one morning. If you are already struggling with all-day sickness or if you struggled with it in a previous pregnancy, ask about medications that you could take to help ease the discomfort.
How Can I Stay Hydrated?
Dehydration is linked with issues like preterm labor and can even make you feel more nauseated. Ask the doctor how to stay hydrated if you are struggling, to keep liquids down. Also, ask when and if you need to go to the hospital for IV fluids.
How Much Weight Should I Gain?
If you are concerned about weight gain, check out this blog post for more information. Your doctor should monitor your pre-pregnancy weight and track it to see if you gain enough or not throughout your pregnancy. The goal weight gain for most pregnant women is 30 pounds. If you are very sick in your first trimester, you probably will lose a few pounds which is normal and safe and you will gradually gain weight in your second and third trimesters.
Do I Need Any Vaccines?
Depending on when you had your last boosters your doctor might recommend certain vaccines such as the flu or TDAP vaccine.
What Vitamins and Supplements Do I Need To Take?
While it’s obvious to cut out things like high sugar foods and replace them with whole foods, your body will still need an extra boost of vitamins and supplements such as folic acid. Folic acid plays a vital role in the development of the baby’s neural tube and can prevent birth defects. If prenatal vitamins make morning sickness worse, talk to your doctor about just taking a single dose of folic acid until you are in your second trimester.
What Foods, Medications, and Supplements Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?
Smoking and drinking are obvious no-nos, but did you know that certain hot teas can trigger labor or bring on pregnancy complications? Unpasteurized soft cheese and milk can be the harbinger of bad bacteria and undercooked or raw meat can also make you sick. If you loved sushi before, then now it’s time to switch to cooked sushi. Your doctor should give you a list of over the counter medications and all the foods you are allowed to have, but if not, be sure to ask for a print out of the items to avoid.
What Body Changes Can I Expect in the Next Three Months?
From the time of conception, hormones in your body begin to work overtime to foster changes to make room for the baby. Every woman is different based on body type, size, and preexisting conditions, so ask your doctor what to expect physically in this trimester. The usual complaints are headaches, sore or tender breasts, and exhaustion.
What Do I Do If I Have Bleeding And Mild Cramping?
Light bleeding and mild cramping are usually normal as your body is settling into pregnancy. But you need to know when it is abnormal and when to go to the hospital.
How Much Caffeine May I Have?
If you are a caffeine addict and you are struggling with first-trimester tiredness, it might be tempting to drink a whole pot of coffee to get you through the day. But studies show that caffeine needs to take a back seat during pregnancy. Unlike alcohol, it’s usually okay to have one cup a day but talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
Now that the morning sickness has started to ebb away and the crazy exhaustion has hopefully eased, you will find yourself feeling cute with your budding bump, falling into your old routine, and eating your favorite foods again. You’ll even start to have intense cravings! This is referred to as the “honeymoon stage” of pregnancy, so it’s no wonder you’re going to have some of the following questions:
Can I Keep Getting My Hair Dyed, Colored, And Do Root Touchups?
While this is generally safe, it’s always good to double-check.
What Should I Do For Exercise?
Exercise is so important to help prepare you for labor, to circulate your blood, and to keep off extra weight. But if you did not work out before pregnancy, you might be limited to what you can do and how high your heart rate should rise. Be sure to talk about this with your care provider.
When Should I Stop Working?
This will depend on the nature of your job, your health, and any concerns the doctor has for you. It will also depend on how you feel, your financial situation, and your physical ability. Talk to your doctor about writing a note for your employer if you are unable to or are struggling to work. But remember, your employer might need you and your doctor to fill out lots of paperwork, depending on your job situation and the timing for your request for maternity leave. It is important to plan ahead and prepare as you can.
What Symptoms are Normal?
Just like in the first trimester, the second one will bring on new feelings and changes to your body. It’s important to talk to your doctor about what to expect in this trimester. If you experience severe pain, bleeding, or a gush of water go to the hospital immediately! But most likely you will only experience things like ligament pain in this trimester as your belly begins to grow at a rapid speed.
You are in the home stretch! Now it’s time to nest and prepare for your little one. But just as important as setting up the crib and changing the curtains in the nursery, it’s also essential to prepare for the upcoming changes as your body prepares for labor.
How Often Should I Feel My Baby Move?
You should feel your baby moving throughout the day, but if you have a sleepy baby you might need to turn down the lights, drink a glass of cold water and lie down. If you don’t feel fetal movement, go to the hospital immediately. Ask your doctor how to count fetal kicks and what to do if you can’t feel the baby move.
How Can I Prepare For Breastfeeding? (Or Bottle Feeding?)
Regardless of how you choose to feed your baby, the third trimester is a great time to research feeding an infant. Ask your doctor what formulas are recommended in the medical community, and ask about how to order a breast pump. (Some insurance companies will pay for a breast pump but you will need to obtain a prescription from the doctor to order it.) Ask your doctor about lactation consultants in your area you can contact for information and classes, or if the hospital you are delivering at can provide free nursing classes and support. When it comes to feeding your newborn, you can never be too educated or prepared.
When Do I Need To Stop Travelling? May I Fly?
Not all trips are equal. Ask your doctor about any upcoming travel such as flying which can cause blood clots and therefore is not generally safe for third-trimester pregnancy.
What Can I Expect During Labor And Delivery?
Mentally preparing for the big day will help you relax (and will also help you know how to pack in your hospital bag.) Ask your doctor about any concerns, worries, and uneasiness you are experiencing. Every woman has apprehensions and nerves, that is totally normal! Your doctor will put your worries at ease and help you mentally prepare for labor.
What Do Contractions Feel Like And When Am I In Labor?
Unless you’ve been pregnant before, it can be very confusing to tell real labor apart from fake labor. Braxton Hicks can mimic labor. Ask your doctor to give you clues as to when you are truly in labor and ways you can cope with it until it is time to go to the hospital.
Can We Go Over My Birth Plan?
Your doctor should be happy to go over your birth plan to familiarise you with birth and to tell you if anything on it is not realistic or can be improved. The doctor can also help you visualize what to expect moments after birth, like putting the baby on your chest, when the nurses take the baby’s vitals, and what services the hospital offers for you and your baby. This is also a great time for you to ask for personal requests like, “May I have essential oils in the room?” or “Can I breastfeed immediately?” or “May I have a photographer in the room?”
Pregnancy and birth come with many uncertainties so if you have questions, ask! Remember that there are no stupid questions, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
If you need support preparing for birth, call your local Mary's Pregnancy Resource Center and ask about enrolling in their free classes!